By Adriana DeBartolomeis
Let’s set the scene, shall we? You had a full day of classes, went straight to work, came home and had three exams you needed to study for, two papers to write, and let’s not forget the fact that you’re hungry and haven’t eaten all day. You feel extremely overwhelmed and at this point you feel so stressed and exhausted that schoolwork is the last thing on your mind. All you really want to do is lay in bed, put on some Netflix, and sleep. Sounds about right, doesn’t it? Trust and believe that you aren’t the first, and you definitely won’t be the last college student to encounter these feelings. College can be very stressful, and when you add in the extras of work, trying to stay healthy, and trying to maintain somewhat of a social life, it can almost feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions and you just want to scream. If only there was a healthy outlet to let go of all of these feelings. But wait… What if there was? Meditating is a practice that has been around for hundreds of years and has been used by millions all over the world. Meditating is defined by Webster Dictionary as “thinking deeply or focusing one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.” It’s something you can do anywhere, at anytime, for any duration of your choosing. When you meditate, you shut off the distractions of the outside world, allowing you to temporarily silence your mind. You can physically measure the changes your body encounters during meditation. In the book “The Best Meditations On The Planet”, author Dr. Martin Hart explains what happens to your body and brain during meditation. “During meditation, your respiration and heart rate slow down. Your brain wave frequencies also slow down. Usually your brain operates at 13 to 30 cycles per second. When meditating, your brain waves are reduced to 8 to 13 cycles per second. This brings you to an inward state of being where you’re relaxed, and no longer focused on external distractions. You’re simply focused on you and relaxing.” There are many benefits to meditating. It lowers your blood pressure, stimulates cell growth, decreases the need for substance abuse, aids weight loss, improves your memory, and boosts intelligence and academic performance. A study done at UCLA by neuroscientist Dr. Eileen Luders, proved that meditation can increase the size of the brain. Other clinical studies have shown us that meditation strengthens the part of your brain that’s linked with positive feelings which helps fight the issues of stress and anxiety. Now that you know all of the benefits of meditating, I’m sure the next question you’re asking yourself is, “How do I meditate?”. It’s actually very simple. You don’t need any hard preparation or a specific setting. All you have to do is find a spot where you can get comfortable, and start off by sitting or lying down. You can meditate at any time of the day, wherever you are, by yourself or with others. Give yourself some quiet private time.