To say that we live in a stressful day and era would be an understatement. It’s been a long time since college students have had to deal with so much in such a short span of time as you and your fellow colleagues have. Covid-19, global police brutality protests, and another divisive election year. You’ve got all that playing on in the background while you’re just also just trying to fit in at your new home at the Junction Cottages & Townhomes and pass your next science exam. That’s stressful.
But what can you do? There’s a lot going on in your life right now and it’s important not to just run away and hide or ignore it. Classes must be attended, friends should be made, and exams ought to be studied for. However, it’s also important to carve out some time for yourself, to give yourself a chance to just breathe. To relax. To destress. Meditation is an excellent method of doing so.
The Benefits of Meditation
When people refer to meditation, they are often referring to Buddhist meditation practices and practices, but it’s important to note that cultures around the world practiced different forms of meditation. At its heart, meditation is about taking a moment to calm the mind so as to improve how you see the nature of things. From this core concept, many different types of meditation blossom and all provide a myriad of benefits. The following is a look at some of the most important of those benefits you can take advantage of by meditating:
- Reduce stress. This is the biggest and most obvious benefit and one that every student should take advantage of. Several significant studies have confirmed what meditation practitioners have known for centuries: Meditating helps decrease the inflammation response caused by stress and thereby reduces the feelings associated with stress.
- Controls anxiety. Meditation can also help you control anxiety symptoms you might have, including anxiety resulting from things like social anxiety, panic attacks, paranoid thoughts, or other types of anxiety. Meditation has been found to be especially effective at helping one reduce and control their anxiety when combined with yoga.
- Improves attention span. Have you been struggling with focusing on your studies? Of paying attention in class? Then you’ll appreciate the studies that have found that focused-oriented meditation can effectively improve a person’s attention span. In fact, you can improve your attention span in just four days of practicing focused meditation.
3 Key Meditation Practices to Keep in Mind
Be Aware of Your Breath
Focusing on one’s breath is a cornerstone of meditation. When you focus on your breath, you stay grounded in your body and you focus on your mind on this very basic human function. Breath in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. Staying with your breath is a fantastic way to stay connected with the present moment and let those outside worries fade away. As you become more aware of your breathing, make sure you do so with curiosity and not with the aim to control. You want to follow the breath as it goes through you and then goes out.
Scan Your Body
Next, leave your breath and began to scan the rest of your body. Begin at your head and work downwards, look, and pay attention to any feelings of tightness or similar sensations. Try and relax those areas that are tense. To do this, you might visualize something like the air around you massaging your muscles. Go inch-by-inch from your head, to your forehead, to your eyes, ears, cheeks, nose, chin, and so on. Each time you encounter a tightness, aim for relaxing. This type of body scan helps promote awareness and likewise helps ground you in the present moment. It’s also a fantastic way to promote self-care and find those areas of your body where you need to release stress.
Listen to a Guide
Meditation is something that anyone can do, from anywhere they are. But getting started in anything new can be hard, and as such you might consider utilizing a guided mediation resource. Guided meditation resources are particularly great for those who struggle with staying focused. You can also choose a meditation to be geared for certain goals, such as guided meditation to ease you into sleep, to improve your confidence, or to better help you relax. Some practitioners will include background music while others will incorporate natural sounds, such as rain on a tin roof or the morning bird calls in a forest, to help ground you.
Experiment With All of the Above to Find the Right Meditation for You
Meditation is in many ways one of the easiest habits you can pick up. You can meditate anywhere you are and you can do it every day of the week, or you once a week, or whenever you find the time. You can choose to meditate on your own, with a guided meditation, or to form a small group to share mediation practices with at your favorite local park. Or, you might also practice right here in your Junction Cottages & Townhomes apartment room or at one of our outdoor gathering areas. Wherever way you go, we hope mediation helps you find a sense of calmness amidst all the stress.