How Mindful Meditation Can Help Get You Through Exams

How Mindful Meditation Can Help Get You Through Exams

Avoid feeling quickly burnt out during finals week.
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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.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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What Everyone With Diabetes Wishes You Knew

I wish people knew that it is a constant battle.
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I do my best to keep my story positive. I am a positive person day in and day out, but I can’t help but wish that people knew certain things about my disease without me having to teach them or without me having to help them understand. Although I love educating others, it begins to feel as though no one around me wants to hear it.

When I have a few bad days, I want to hide. I want to scream at my body. I want to throw it away. I ask myself, “Why? Why did this happen to me?”

But then I stop and remember that it happened to me because I can handle it and because I was meant to teach others about it.

I wish people could see the battle that I am fighting, some days more than others.

I wish people could see the numbers that follow me around all day.

I wish people could feel a high blood sugar.

I wish people could feel a low blood sugar (hypoglycemics don’t count).

SEE ALSO: 15 Different Reactions You Get When You Have Type One Diabetes

I wish people could see me struggling to solve this disease.

I wish people knew that my diabetes is not someone else’s diabetes.

I wish people knew that Type 1 Diabetes is not Type 2 Diabetes.

I wish people knew that thousands of people are struggling with this disease around the world and some of them don’t have the resources to survive.

I wish people knew how invasive this disease is between the finger pricks, the pump sites, the sensor sites and the syringe holes left in my body.

I wish people knew that I can eat that cookie.

I wish people knew that I can eat two cookies if my heart desires it.

I wish people knew that I am constantly thinking about my blood sugar.

I wish people knew that I can’t go anywhere without a glucometer, insulin, and glucose tablets.

I wish people knew that diabetes can cause a lot of other problems in my body.

I wish people knew that this disease isn’t as easy as it looks. It’s more than just pushing buttons and testing my blood sugar.

I wish people knew that I have to consider every single piece of food that goes into my mouth and how it might affect me later.

I wish people knew that diabetes affects my sleep.

I wish people knew that sometimes I don’t feel like fighting my body.

I wish people knew that certain foods can really really hurt me for a few hours.

I wish people knew that my life is a little different than theirs, but that I wear it well.

I wish friends could understand.

I wish family would try harder to.

I wish people knew that my disease is life-threatening and that it usually never leaves my mind, no matter how often I practice yoga or how often I meditate.

I wish people knew that diabetes is just as much mental as it is physical.

I wish people knew that I’m constantly thinking ahead, when all I want to be thinking about is right now.

SEE ALSO: A Letter To Those Who Think Diabetes Is A Joke

I wish people knew that life is so precious to people with diabetes.

I wish people knew that I didn’t do this to myself.

Cover Image Credit: Erika Szumel

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Getting A Cat Senior Year Of College Saved Me, And It Could Save You

Even if you're not a cat person (which I know most of you aren't), there are valuable lessons to be learned from a furry companion, especially as a senior in college.

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In the first week of September during my senior year of college, I already felt like I was bungee jumping with the wrong cords that could snap at any second. No matter what anyone tells you, senior year is no joke. With all of the feelings of stress and anxiety, you would think that putting a new pet into the mix of all of that is the worst idea someone could have. But, really, when do we ever get to make crazy decisions if not senior year of college? So I got a pet, of course. Why not live on the edge?

Let me tell you, finding the animal you want to adopt is a pretty magical moment. I went into that shelter looking for a cat that was at least a few months old and had its bearings on life. I came out with one that was barely nine weeks old (totally not the plan). It was all because when I held him he booped his nose on mine and my heart turned into a puddle on the floor. I knew right then that this would be my cat. His given name was Batman, but we decided to call him something much suaver: Bruce Wayne. He also is a black cat, so I would say the name fits well.

It is important to note that before this cat saved me, it wrecked me. The first week of ownership was one of the biggest growing periods of my young life. I cried every day. The realization that I was now responsible for such a small, fragile being was, to say the least, earth-shaking. But, after that first week of worrying if he would even survive in my care, the dust settled, and I got to explore what it was like to not only care for an animal but to have a new companion to live life with. I watched him explore and learn and play. I saw him grow from a small kitten to a fierce lion-cat (who very much enjoys being like a lion and chasing his "prey" a.k.a., my limbs and extremities). I was able to nurture this small being and see him grow into the cat he is today. It has truly been a gift to be such a vital role in his life. High-key, this experience has given me a glimpse of what motherhood might look like (disclaimer: I know that will be much much harder and I'll cross that bridge when I get there).

Now onto the part about how he saved me. I learned what it is like to care deeply about another being while also being responsible for them. I learned how to balance my social life, spending time with him and making him feel loved. I learned how to tell if he was sick or not. Arguably, the most important thing I learned, was that if you think they have an ear infection, you're probably wrong and you probably don't need the $120 ear drops the vet will give you (look, overreaction to their first sign of illness is a thing and you will definitely experience this). But really, the companionship I experienced from Bruce during senior year boosted my morale and kept me motivated to finish undergrad strong. I don't think I would have made it through my senior year if I hadn't had Bruce there to show me love, support me, and keep me laughing. He became a companion that I would not be able to find in a person. He also wasn't someone I had to talk to. We could just sit, play, and sleep without having to exchange words, but even in this nonverbal relationship, he knew I loved him and I knew he loved me. Having him around made everything much brighter and mean much more.

Would I suggest everyone get a cat senior year of college? The cat-loving part of me wants to scream "Yes!" and meet you at the Humane Society tomorrow, but the logical part of me knows that it isn't for everyone. A pet is a huge responsibility and if you aren't ready for that, then don't step into that part of your life. On the flip side, I also urge you to be open to the possibility of a pet being just what you need. Who knows? Your pet could get you through one of the hardest seasons of your life. They could also be just another thing to love and smile about during one of the best seasons of your life. They're with you through it all! Whether your pet barks, meows, or chirps, you'll learn valuable life lessons and gain a loyal companion.

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