Stressed Out? Try Meditation

Stressed Out? Try Meditation

Get your mind in the game

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.

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.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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An Open Letter To The Person Feeling Everything Is Too Much

The strongest people to exist struggle the most.


Hey, you.

I heard through the grapevine that life's got you in the dumps. You're feeling overwhelmed by your surroundings, stressed by your responsibilities, sensitive to the things that people are saying; everything just feels like it is too much. It almost feels like you're stuck in a room filling up with water. You know that the door opens, but you're numbed by the circumstances; you can't get yourself to take hold of that handle, so you just stand there, frozen in time. You feel the water rising up around your body, and with every inch it gains, you get even more overwhelmed. Maybe the water flooding in contains your schoolwork, your family dynamic, your drama within your friend group, your relationship status, internal anger about who you are or aren't, or hell, maybe all of these.

You feel like life is throwing rogue waves at you left and right, and you can't understand it. Why is this happening to me? Why is life trying to break me?

Well, let me tell you something that has taken me years to even grasp, let alone fully understand.

The strongest people to exist struggle the most. They are given some of the most intricately woven issues that may not have a black and white solution but live somewhere within the gray. Things pile up and upon them until everything feels like too much. And you know what they do, the strongest people to exist?

They break.

They stand there, trapped in that water-filling room, and let the water seep in. They don't open that door, they don't take the easy way out. They stand there, thinking about what is being thrown at them, not knowing what to do. They let the water overwhelm them, completely filling the room. And right when they feel that they can't take this anymore, like everything is too much, the door breaks... they break. The strongest become the weakest as they float out of the room, carried by the rushing water filled with their burdens. They lay washed up on the shore, weaker than ever... broken and cracked, frozen and numbed by life.

While they lay there broken and numb, weakness does something so immaculate and beautiful: it settles into the brokenness and the cracks like fresh, fertile soil, planting the seeds of wisdom and strength. Over time as it continues to rain, wisdom and strength grow throughout their bones like vines, making them even stronger than they were before they got trapped in that room before they broke. The strongest people to exist break frequently, so that room can be made for more love, more strength, and more wisdom than imaginable.

Now you may be thinking, why this analogy? What are you getting at?

I want you to know, and read this closely: it is okay to break. It's okay to let everything feel like it's too much because you know what? Sometimes it is, it just is. Sometimes, you have to just stand there, and let yourself feel. Let it explode and wash over you. Let it leave you cracked. Once the explosion has ridden its course. analyze the broken pieces you feel inside. Look at them individually and try to find the root of that feeling. Finding the knowledge behind that feeling means that you now know how to fight back. So you know what you do? You piece yourself back together, slowly but surely, using wisdom as the glue, and you come back stronger than ever before.

You have to break before you can grow. Let yourself feel, feel all of it. Break and be grown anew.

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