Exercise the Mind

Meditation1The first few weeks of a new semester in college are often stressful for entering freshmen as well as returning students. Trying to get back into the swing of things with new classes and new professors can be difficult. Many students turn to hanging out with friends, exercising or watching Netflix to take some of the pressure off. Meanwhile, a powerful form of stress relief is often forgotten. Meditation is a way to connect your mind, body and spirit by bringing a sense of peace and calmness to your entire being.

Meditation3The practice of meditation has roots all the way back to 5,000 BCE and was originally used as a way of worship for certain religions. Not only was it used for religious purposes, but it was also used as a remedy for illnesses. It was believed to heal physical ailments by connecting the body to the spirit. Meditation grew in popularity and was brought to the United States from India during the 20th century. In the United States, it immediately gained the interest of yogis and their followers. While meditation is often a paired with the practice of yoga it does not have to be. Meditation can also be practiced separately with no link to yoga, including in your own dorm room.
Meditation might seem intimidating at first, especially if you find it difficult to relax or wind down. However, it can be extremely rewarding and positively affect many aspects of your life including stress levels, happiness and overall well-being. Here are some simple tips to get you started with meditating:

  1. Find a quiet and calming place with limited distractions or interruptions- This spot can be your dorm room, the library, or a sunny area outside.
  2. Put on soothing music with only instrumentals- It’s best to choose music with no lyrics so that you are alone with your own thoughts.
  3. Make yourself comfortable- You can close your eyes or keep them open; lie down or sit up; the possibilities are endless!
  4. Give yourself enough time to fully experience the meditation- Make sure to set out a specific time to meditate so that you’re not worried about missing class or being late while meditating. This will only take away from the experience and cause you to become even more stressed.
  5. Focus on your breathing- Be aware of your inhalation and exhalation pattern. This is incredibly important. Try not to think of anything else.

Meditation2With these tips, you can get started with meditation in no time! As with any exercise, the more you practice, the more natural it will become. The next time you think about turning on that television or watching YouTube videos to relieve some stress, try meditation. You will give your brain the exercise it well deserves!

Photo Credit: Michelle Przybilla

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