ZEN AND CHILL?
Okay, meditating improves your life. Why else did monks practice it for centuries? It heals the body and mind. It’s not just some hippie transcendence, but it could serve as a serious stress-reliever and more. Many people believe that meditating is just sitting down and doing nothing. However, meditation allows people to take charge of their state of mind and their own nervous system. What plagues college students more than anything? Stress, anxiety, uncertainty about the future. Meditating helps bring the mind to alleviate and conquer all of that. It could take as little as five minutes between class time!
According to an article by The Huffington Post, studies on meditation have shown an improved ability to multitask. Increasing concentration, regularly meditating links higher energy to the ability to multitask. “Meditation has been linked to a number of things that lead to increased ability to focus, memory … We’ve seen this at the level of the brain,” says Stanford University researcher Emma Seppälä. One can reap the benefits of this when they’re trying to cram for a standardized test or even a regular class exam. Meditation is, after all an active form of brain training.
Prevents the brain from aging:
Perhaps we’re too busy trying to keep our skin from aging, but we should treat our brain with the same respect as well. According to Forbes magazine, a study from UCLA found that long-term meditators had brains that were better-preserved than non-meditators as they aged. Participants who’d been meditating for an average of 20 years had more grey matter volume throughout the brain. Some older meditators still had some volume loss compared to younger meditators, but it still wasn’t as pronounced as the non-meditators.
Meditating helps to reduce anxiety, because it brings the mind to focus on the present. Typically, when people experience anxiety, they’re fixated on the future or past––but meditating brings the mind to focus on what is here and now in real time. By training the mind to fixate and relax on the present, it will surely adapt to calm the minds of those who are used to dwelling on the past and future.
Helps make you happy:
A study from Johns Hopkins University looked at the relationship between mindful meditation and its ability to reduce symptoms of depression and pain. Researcher Madhav Goyal and his team found that the effect size of meditation was moderate, at 0.3. This may sound low, but the effect size for most antidepressants is also 0.3, which makes the effect of meditation sound pretty good–and rivals the effects of antidepressants.
It may seem trivial to make meditation a daily habit when we have so many other distractions to worry about; but one of the many purposes of meditating to cut the distractions and hone in on concentration. Starting off at even two minutes a day and gradually increasing the time will help tenfold. If you’re too embarrassed to do it in public between classes, you should still start off your morning with it, or throwing it into the end of your exercise routine.