What if I could tell you I had a tool that was free and could help you deal with all the stress and even help your brain work better? Would you try it? Fun fact, there is a great mental exercise utilized for thousands of years and has been researched to show that it actually helps. Meditation is the name of the game and let me tell you about it. It’s one of my favorite things to do when life just seems to get to be too much.
To begin, meditation is great for dealing with stress relief. According to the Mayo Clinic, it helps untangle the mess of thoughts when you’re overwhelmed. As we approach finals and wrapping up the semester our lives are getting more hectic by the day. It’s not easy and we have so much going on that it’s hard to function when our minds never stop racing. Meditation helps with that, it lets you process your thoughts and find a place a peace.
Not only does it help us de-stress a lil bit, but it’s shown to have benefits in cognitive function. Studies showed that people who meditate more often and for longer periods of time are better at eliminating incorrect answers and performed better on tests. Don’t you want to get that A? Brain scans by NCIHH showed certain areas of the brain related to information processing are larger infrequent meditators.
So how do you do this, you ask? Well, well, well, do I have some information for you. It’s not all sitting cross-legged and repeating mantras, like the Buddhist figure you imagine, that’s only some of the ways people may meditate. There are so many meditation practices out there, religious ones, non-religious, guided ones, mindfulness meditation, yoga, etc. Everyone can do it, there are so many options and no one is better than the other. Meditation is a great tool for stress management, but when you don’t know where to start or how to do it, guided meditation is the best way to go. In these, people narrate the things you should be focused on, like breathing and walk you through the process.
There are so many guided meditations available on apps, websites, YouTube, and even Spotify. These walk you through the process and tell you what it is you need to do. Apps like Headspace have increased in popularity. It’s free to download and has a few free options within the app. There are guided meditations on a variety of topics. There are stress and anxiety meditations, ones for focus, calming down, eliminating distractions, etc. It doesn’t have to be for long either, just 5-10 minutes a day can be enough to see change.
Meditation I think has really helped me get through the hectic college life. It’s hard to be able to take care of yourself but meditation is a little way I can make sure I’m watching my mental health. My favorite app is Stop Breathe & Think; this app has so many different categories for whatever you may need. Recently they even added a college student section. I regularly take the time to meditate and it helps me with stress and anxiety. It takes only a short bit of my time and I feel like I have my life together afterward. If you're looking at ways to help relax and sort everything out, give meditation a try. At this time of the year more than ever we need to take a break and declutter our minds.