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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Toronto chapter.

Edited by Olivia Spahn-Vieira  

Breathe in. Breath out. Seems simple, right?

Yet, for most of us in university, we don’t often take a second to practice this simple movement. With balancing school, exams, our social life, family life, and the other commitments we have, it seems like our day is moving at lightning speed as we drag ourselves through it. However, the built-up stress that accumulates as a result can hinder our progress, when we fail to pause for a few minutes each day.

In this article, I want to highlight the benefits that meditation can have on our minds, our bodies, and our overall well-being.  As we have come to know through this pandemic, our bodies and minds do so much for us and thus it is important that we take time out of our day to express gratitude for them through the action of simply pausing.


What is meditation?

Meditation is the act of training our minds to become aware of our surroundings and is a way of maintaining a form of calmness. There are many different types of meditation that almost everyone can do, with practice. For example, there is mindful meditation that focuses on thoughts, feelings, and sensations of your body, or visualization meditation that involves imagining positive scenes and images. There is also movement mediation, which helps you try to find a state of peace as the body plays an active role, like gardening or taking a walk.


What are the benefits of meditation?

There are many benefits of performing meditation on a daily basis. It has been known to reduce stress, decrease anxiety, and increase memory and attention span, to name a few. There have also been studies that suggest meditation may be beneficial for overcoming certain medical conditions, such as problems sleeping and high blood pressure.


How do I know if I am meditating correctly?

This is a question most people ask when they first begin the practice of meditating. From experience, I can say that not all types of meditations are designed for everyone. Someone that is very active may have a hard time sitting still and practicing mindful meditation, but may love the idea of being out in nature and focusing on the environment as they take a walk. It’s important to try out different forms, to see which type is the best suited for you. As well, meditation is about practice. You may not be able to completely focus on your surroundings or on the present moment the first time around. You may experience your attention drifting towards homework you have to finish, the laundry pile sitting in the corner of your room, or a conversation that you had with a friend. It takes a few tries to be able to separate the circling thoughts in your mind from the present moment and that is perfectly normal.


Are there any apps that are good for meditation?

There are many apps that you can use as you begin your journey. I have used several and some I found very good, while others I found really challenging. Some of the ones I recommend are “Oak” and “ Headspace”. These apps offer meditations for sleep, for stress, for gratitude, and more. For those of you that have Netflix, “ Headspace” has just released a series of episodes with a focus on guided mediation.


Some of you might feel that there isn’t enough time in the day to finish all the tasks you have to accomplish, let alone time to add a meditative ritual to your day. I felt the same way. However, there are lots of opportunities in the day for you to pause for a minute and find some peace. Just 60 seconds of your day to stop and breathe. It could be sitting at your desk waiting for your lecture slides to upload. It could be the 60 seconds it takes to fill up your water bottle or pour yourself a cup of coffee. Think of all the time you spend on social media; what if you replaced five minutes of scrolling through Instagram, with five minutes of taking a few deep breaths and centering yourself so that you can be your best self for the day?

Natasha Nixon

U Toronto '23

Natasha is a second year student at the University of Toronto pursuing a double major in Bioethics and Health and Disease.