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Surviving Midterms: Mindfulness Meditation to the Rescue!

As the autumn season arrives and festivities begin, some of us only have one thing on our mind — midterms! With professors throwing projects, quizzes, and exams at us, there is no doubt that this time of year can be busy, overwhelming, and just plain stressful. Nonetheless, your friends at Her Campus are here to help!

Recently, I’ve been doing an Internet deep dive to find the best ways to relax and wind down after a long day of classes. Taking time for myself is something I have been trying to value, and one method that I have grown to appreciate is called mindfulness meditation. As defined by the American Psychological Association, mindfulness is a meditation practice comprised of two separate parts: attention and acceptance. The attention aspect of mindfulness asks us to turn our focus to what is happening at the present moment. This includes physical sensations, our current thoughts, and our current feelings. It also calls attention to the breath and how it feels to inhale and exhale. The acceptance aspect of mindfulness takes place when we observe what we paid attention to; how we are currently feeling and how to let it go, or where we are feeling physical tension and how to release it. It aims to feel these feelings, not call judgment on them, and just let them go.

So, how do we get started?

  1. Find a quiet, comfortable area to practice in. Sit or lay comfortably, being sure to focus on your comfort first. Limit outside distractions by closing doors or putting earbuds in.
  2. If following a guided meditation, pull it up now. Otherwise, some ambient noise might help to relax your mind. I recommend rain sounds, lofi, or binaural beats.
  3. Observe the present. Focus on your breath; inhaling with positive intentions and exhaling the negative. One thing that keeps me on task is imagining a ball growing as I inhale, and shrinking as I exhale. Stay focused on how you feel at this moment in time: ask yourself how certain parts of your body feel (the answer should be comfortable!)
  4. Remind yourself that it is okay to get off task. Meditating takes practice, just like any other skill. If you find your mind wandering, gently remind yourself to focus back on the breath. This time is for relaxing and rejuvenating the mind and body — be kind to yourself!
  5. After your meditation session is over, gently open your eyes. Take this moment to notice your surroundings and recognize how you feel, mentally and physically, after practice.

Guided Meditations: Which Ones Are Better For _____?

Using guided meditation can assist in keeping our minds on track. When I first began meditating, I was a dedicated fan of someone reminding me to get back on task. However, the options available can be totally overwhelming. More notably, when you search “guided meditation” on YouTube, over 3.7 MILLION results pop up. I wanted to know which types of guided meditations were better for specific occasions. So, over about a month, I tried a variety of different guided meditations I found on YouTube. I wanted to focus primarily on three types that interested me: physical relaxation, mental relaxation, and mood-boosting. Here are my recommendations for the following categories:

Physical Relaxation: This guided meditation by Michael Sealey was what I was looking for in physical meditation. At a more manageable length of about 30 minutes, Michael guides us through a meditation that focuses on the physical sensation of relaxing. I found this meditation to be most effective after a long day, so I did it before bed on the days when my body needed it. Michael’s meditations are nice to use before bed, as most of them are made with the intent to put you to sleep.

Mental Relaxation: This session by Calm is a quick, 10-minute meditation that highlights staying present in the moment. I liked this meditation in the morning before classes. While it is super quick, I liked the sense of clarity I had after the session. It helped to make me feel more prepared for the day and even acted as a little bit of an energy booster.

Mood-Boosting: This meditation by Declutter The Mind focuses on positivity and visualizing the benefits. I particularly like this one because of the helpful narration; it made me feel like I wasn’t being patronized for seeking positivity in my life. It was simple, effective, and calming. If I have time for one meditation a day, it would be this one. I also really admire shorter guided sessions because they are easier to fit into my schedule.

Overall, I found this mindfulness meditation journey to be very rewarding! I have noticed that after about a week of meditating before I go to bed, I sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed. Mindfulness meditation has been my lifeline for daily stress, so I will be sure to implement it during midterms this upcoming week!

Good luck out there, Her Campus readers!

Erin Anderson

Bowling Green '25

Erin is a freshman at Bowling Green State University where she is majoring in Adolescent/Young Adult Education (Integrated Language Arts). She lives at home with her cat, Bug. Alongside being an editor, she loves to write about astrology, self love, spirituality, and mental health.
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