Stressed Out? Try Meditation

Stressed Out? Try Meditation

Get your mind in the game
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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.

Cover Image Credit: Brittney Vargas and Alina DeVoogd

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.

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When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

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