With the end of the semester creeping upon us, it is easy for anyone to feel overloaded with the number of work that has to get done. The college environment pushes students to consistently stay focused on creating a successful future. There is an insane amount of pressure on us to succeed and make the most of our time in school.

This time of year seemingly brings a never-ending list of assignments and deadlines. This pressure can take a large toll on our mental health, and we can easily forget to take care of ourselves amidst the long list of other things we have to get done.

During this stressful time of year, avoid feeling burnt out by exploring the benefits of mindful meditation. Designate five to 10 minutes of your day to sit with yourself, and draw your attention to the physical sensations of breathing. Notice your body rising and falling with each breath you take. Begin to feel how the flowing oxygen helps loosen the pressure in your brain. The mindfulness in your breath during this short session can translate into mindful awareness throughout the entire day.

Famous Zen Buddhist and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh says,

“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”

The powers of mindful meditation can be used as a stress reduction technique to help foster a stronger mentality. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara discovered that through practicing mindfulness, student participants were able to cultivate reduced mind wandering. Thus, leading to increased performances on their standardized test scores and working memory capacity.

Mindful meditation allows us to release the stress and pressures we feel from everyday life, helping us live more productively and efficiently. Mindfulness practices help train your mind to focus on the present moment. This can then allow us to stay focused on any task at hand, and improve our overall attention span.

Taking time to take care of your spirit through mindfulness practices, you can then perform at your highest optimal level.

Finals and grades are important yes, but not as important as taking care of the well being of yourself first. You won’t perform as productively if your brain is clouded with scattered stressors. Use mindful meditation as a tool to unload and reboot your mental capacity. When you are thinking and acting with mindful awareness, you can then make decisions with greater clarity.