Don’t Hesitate to Meditate

Don’t Hesitate To Meditate

Before you roll your eyes at the recent buzzword - mindfulness - like I did, give it a chance. It will be worth it.


I know, there are some weird connotations that go along with meditation, and even more so, the people who meditate. You either imagine a spiritual shaman at the top of a mountain or your high school art teacher who was really into yoga or the person who sells homemade soaps at farmer's markets--nothing wrong with any of those people, but not everyone can or wants to integrate meditation or spirituality into every aspect of his or her lifestyle. From where I'm sitting (or shall I say meditating) I think most people, particularly stressed college students, should practice some form of mindfulness. Especially if you are anything like me.

As the end of the semester has been approaching, my tests, homework, activities, and responsibilities have been piling up. I tend to take on a lot of responsibility and fill my schedule to the brim--both a personal choice as well as a need to stay busy, ahead, and constantly building that lovely resumé. On top of my schedule, I maintain some semblance of a social life and personal relationships, which of course are never without drama and stress. So where is the time for me, just myself? Up until now, I solely turned to working out to help me relieve stress and to give myself personal attention. But even though running, cycling, yoga, and pilates are great, they still weren't relieving my stress fully.

I'm certain most of you are in the same boat as I am, or at least some variation--canoe, cargo ship, kayak, take your pick.

So, the turning point. The discovery. Whatever we want to call it. Monday of this week, I drudged through my class schedule, returned to my room, and plopped down on my bed feeling burnt out and particularly stressed. Next, I opened up Instagram to intake my dose of useless content for the day. One of the first things I came across was a recommendation for an app which helps you pair workouts with meditation. I already had a run and pilates class scheduled for my afternoon, so it seemed like I could integrate the app immediately.

Unfortunately, I downloaded the app, named "KAIT," and found out you have to pay for a subscription. There is a free trial that I signed up for, despite having no intention or budget to pay for it after the trial is up. The app is very personalized to your goals, preferences, lifestyle, and interest. I really recommend at least trying it out, and if you have the money, subscribing!

So next I looked up some different free apps, the key word being FREE. I ended up getting "Simple Habit" which, like the name implies, allows you to practice simple, unintimidating, and realistic meditation. Because wellness, mindfulness, meditation is a trend at the moment, there are tons of apps out there, so if either of these don't suit your fancy, another one likely will. Also, you technically don't need an app! You can do it on your own. But, if you don't know how to get started or have a wandering mind like mine which draws me back to my stresses and 'to-do's', then you should utilize guided meditation apps or YouTube videos.

I took the first step. I sat down on my bed, headphones in, criss-cross applesauce, and clicked on a 5-minute meditation. Although I think I may have weirded out my roommate a bit, I felt refreshed and relaxed after my meditation. I expected the 5 minutes of sitting and listening to a strangers voice would feel like a lifetime, but it went by extremely fast. For the rest of the week, I have started my day with a morning meditation and finished my day with a sleep-promoting meditation. For me, mindfulness has reduced my stress, improved my sleep, and provided me with a small part of the day to simply focus on myself and reflect.

Keep in mind when you meditate that your mind doesn't have to be completely blank or free from thought. Don't stress yourself out over something that is supposed to destress you! Let it be natural, don't put too much pressure on the experience, and you don't have to "get it right." So give it a try as I did! It may help with your stress levels, attention span, or sleep. But if it doesn't, you won't lose much by trying it.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Being Skinny Isn’t As Great As You Think

A reflection on the struggles that come with a person's body image.


Body image. It is one of the most powerful and harmful things on a person's self-esteem. Society and media have placed so many images of what we "should" look like. How we need to be eating, exercising, dressing, EVERYTHING. According to others, we always need to change ourselves or second guess how we see our bodies.

For as long as I can remember everyone has called me "tiny". Sure, being small and being able to fit into a lot of clothes is fun, but being tiny or thin isn't always a good thing. I am your typical college kid eating whatever I want whenever I want.

The only difference between myself and other students is that I almost never gain weight. Some girls or guys may read that part and think that I have a gift or blessing. That I can do whatever I want and still stay small and "pretty".

Have you ever finished a meal then looked at yourself and felt like something wasn't right? Some people in today's world and in history will spend time looking at themselves and seeing multiple things that are wrong with their body.

Some handled that by exercising and losing weight or gaining muscle, others have gone as far as throwing up their food or taking pills that force their bodies not to gain ANY weight. Hearing about that from adults or doctors seems crazy but people do it all the time. Possibly the people around you and you would never know.

I went to middle school with a girl that always finished her lunch walking to the trash and then taking herself to the bathroom. She wouldn't come back to our table until the lunch bell rang. Most people didn't give a second thought to this situation, me however, I followed her one day. What I saw next was something I wasn't prepared for as a 7th grader.

Two sinks, a mirror, and three stalls. One was occupied and the rest were empty. I walked into crying and nothing else. The girl had already taken care of her food and was trying to gather herself after what she just did.

People told her that she was gaining weight, that she was "chunky" or fat. She wasn't the only girl around that dealt with horrible comments like that. It's also not just girls dealing with issues like this.

Boys and men are constantly judged and only "ideal" if they are muscular. Young boys are called pigs or disgusting only because of their weight and looking bigger than the "average" person. Men are downgraded to a lesser meaning when they are thin and "stick like".

Even as we grow up kids and sometimes adults say things without realizing the effect. Being called tiny or skinny all of the time can make someone just feel small. Getting comments to eat a hamburger and fries can make someone feel insulted.

Having comments made about your skin or hair and people making assumptions about you can make someone feel misunderstood or judged. Being told that you need to eat more or go tanning because your body doesn't "look right" can torture a person.

There are so many things that play into a person's self-esteem. Average size, too small or too big is simply just words coming out of someone's mouth that don't understand the true beauties in life.

Do you ever look at a big oak tree and say, "You're too fat, you should really lose some weight."

Do you ever see a flower that blooms smaller than a quarter and tells it, "You are tiny! Why don't you go eat a burrito or something?"

No. You probably don't. Just replace the oak tree with mom and see how that feels coming out of your mouth. Replace flower with a teenage girl and see if you can actually say all of those things. Imagine if you were a parent and it was your little girl or boy that you were talking to and you said those words. Would you be happy with yourself? Would you feel guilty? Would you push them to make their body unhealthy just to fit society's standards?

I hope that you wouldn't

There are so many of us out there being told what to do with ourselves in order to be happy with our bodies. How can someone else determine our happiness for us? I have personally gotten to the point of breaking.

I see friends on a daily basis that want to change their body because it's "ugly". Many of those thoughts are because of things society has put in our minds, and not what truly matters.

As a society, we need to push towards total acceptance. Now, I am not meaning the sexuality or ethnicity type of acceptance because those are important on a different level. Respecting each other and our bodies are something that needs to be understood and enforced as much as sexuality acceptance is pushed.

I want to live in a world and raise children in a world that doesn't make people feel horrible about their bodies. It is THEIR body, not ours. The only body we should be worrying about is our own. I want my future daughter to grow and love playing dress up without wondering if her body looks right in what she's wearing. I want my future son to go to gym class and be able to do only one pull up with all of the other boys cheering him on to do better.

Is that too much to ask?


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