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Wellness

Why Everyone Should Meditate: A Beginner’s Reflection and Guide

Sometimes you feel like your brain is cluttered with fluff. Hanging thoughts, unfinished plans, lingering conversations, never-ending to-do lists… you name it. You’re busy; you wake up, you go to class, go to another class, then another, grab a quick lunch, study for a test, go to class again, get caught up in a weird situation — the list goes on and on. Your brain and body are constantly in motion, and your mind especially is a workhorse. Your senses are constantly engaged, allowing thoughts to seamlessly enter and exit your brain like it’s Grand Central Station. Sometimes it’s important to just pause, breathe, de-clutter, and meditate.

You have the power to control your thoughts, to capture them and hold onto them for a second, to be aware of their existence, and let them go. Being conscious of the presence of your thoughts allows you to claim possession of them, which is essential because they sometimes act as though they have a mind of their own. By practicing awareness, you can control your thoughts so you can decide how they affect you, and if they are harmful or frivolous to your happiness, you can just ~~breathe~~ them out. Blow them away. Sometimes you just need to give yourself a moment to tidy up the clutter in the storage room that is your hard-working brain. I learned these things about myself through meditation, that it is important to give yourself the space and time to reorient and be present in the environment you are in. Meditation, the practice of just sitting there and breathing, focusing on steady inhaling and exhaling, helps you achieve this state of calm.

Meditation is easy and flexible. I want to encourage everyone reading to meditate as well, because it’s important, and I want you all to feel its benefits. Here are a few changes I discovered about myself through my beginner’s experience in meditation:

1. World seems brighter, there’s less clutter.

It’s weird, after a session of meditating, whether it’s 5 minutes just before a track and field meet or a 30 minute session with a group after a long, busy day, I wake up more aware of my surroundings and more present in the environment that I am in. My senses are more engaged, and I hear more, see more — lights seem brighter and the room sometimes feels warmer or colder. It’s as though all of the noise inside my head gets shushed and I can hear my thoughts once again, one by one, like they should be, instead of having a billion of them chatter in my brain all at once.

2. I can actually breathe.

When you get stressed or too busy, you sometimes forget to just breathe. You catch yourself holding your breath. Meditation helps you manually restore your breath to auto-mode. Regulating your breath, you feel more calm because it brings oxygen back into your system at the rate that it needs to be. It reorients you back to your center and helps you find your peace.

3. I feel more refreshed than taking a nap.

The observation I immediately made after my very first time meditating was that I felt way more awake, more active, alive, and refreshed than I felt before starting the session. Sometimes after naps, you wake up feeling more groggy or tired, disoriented, or wanting to nap more. At least I know I do. Meditation helps you wake up and sharpen your focus more effectively and efficiently than when you take a nap. It also gives you the added benefits of feeling more relaxed, happy, and motivated to get on with your day and do more work.

4. I have a better mentality.

I’m not as bothered as much by thoughts that nagged me incessantly before, and even if I am, I know I can reclaim possession of them if I meditate and control them so it doesn’t affect my presence and well-being. I also know that the more I practice meditation, the easier it gets to fit it in right before a test or an event that might spike up your cortisol level. I can trust myself and be myself better because there is less noise in my head.

5. It’s a tool to keep inside your pocket.

Meditation is a handy tool to keep in your pocket. You’ll never lose it, because all you need is you, your brain, and your ability to breathe. But everything requires practice. Meditation is like a sport, because your brain is a muscle too. You are engaging all of your senses and your conscience when you meditate, so it is an activity that is internally complex, but can be done simply and more effectively the more you practice. Start with 5 minutes, and build it up from there. You can fall asleep the first time (I did) and that’s fine! Just have fun with it.

6. It’s also just fun, do it with your friends!

I started meditating so spontaneously. My friend and I were talking about wanting to get more involved in activities on campus, so we decided to just go to whatever event we see on the first poster we encounter, which happened to be the Monday and Tuesday Meditation sessions. We went, loved the instructor (who is awesome by the way), and loved the calm and positive environment. So we went again the next week, and the next. We told our friends about it, got more people to join, and consistently went over Jan Plan with some more friends, and we continue to go now whenever we find the time. It’s easy — you can start a meditation group with your friends, join the one on campus, or even just download an app like Headspace or Calm on your phone and start with their guided meditation sessions. You will reap its benefits, I assure you, and when you do you’ll start to want to do it more often.

This is everything I’ve learned and experienced so far in my journey meditating. Meditation is important. It’s easy. You don’t have to be some guru on a mountain in the middle of nowhere to learn how to meditate. You don’t need to be in some perfectly quiet setting, and you don’t necessarily need to have a lot of time. I sincerely believe it is something everyone should practice. I hope this encourages you to try! So why not grab a few friends and go to the meditation session next Monday?

A second-year student at Colby! From Tokyo, Japan. Government major and English minor. Track and Field athlete at Colby. In my free time I love to figure skate, go on walks, watch cooking videos, eat granola, and cook!
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