Breathe and Unstress

The past few weeks have been a frenzy of exams and sleepless nights of cramming. However, your mind needs a break (despite what your anxiety over exams might be communicating to you). One scientifically acknowledged way to destress is to meditate frequently. 

Meditation is something anyone can pick up and with some basic starter tips, you are good to go. One breath in, one breath out.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a mindful, stress free focus on the breath that has been practiced for thousands of years. This all started within Buddhism as a spiritual practice, but it has been adopted into modern health techniques. While meditation won’t cure your leg injury or help breeze your way through an exam, it lessens the stress that stiffens your mind each morning.

Common Misconceptions About Meditating

A common misconception about meditating is that it is essentially an hour-long commitment to sit straight and do nothing. However, meditation is essentially just 5 minutes of your morning or any time of the day. 

It is not as difficult as many claim it out to be. Focusing on breathing is key to meditation. An app that I have found quite good is Calm in the Google Play Store. The “breathe” option helps in regularizing the breathe and emptying your mind on daily life issues and stress factors.

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation has shown to help clear the mind in the mornings. Research over the years has proven concentrated meditation to improve the overall quality of life be destressing. Meditation lowers blood pressure, increases circulation, slows respiration, lowers anxiety and stress, lowers blood cortisol levels, and much more. Therefore, it it also translates to heightened performance on exams, a more motivated and driven mindset, and greater satisfaction in general.

But again, keep in mind that this is a gradual process. Nothing happens overnight and to see the values of meditation takes some time to take into effect.

How to Meditate

So here are the following guided beginner steps for meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably. Consider a cross legged position or another that makes you comfortable while sitting straight.

  2. Close your eyes and try not to actively think about anything.

  3. Focus your attention on the breathe movement in and out (this is where Calm will help you)

  4. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Consider your chest, shoulders, and belly. Try to simply focus on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.

  5. Maintain this for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods when you feel up for it!

To Meditate or Not

Perhaps this is pure baloney – you can take the advice or leave it – but I choose to believe in the science behind it. Research has proven through various studies and the Mayo Clinic, a reputable nonprofit academic medical center, have all pointed towards positive benefits from meditation. 

Also, worst case scenario, meditation really is just a fad and you have just wasted five minutes of your life. Surely that isn’t too big of a loss, to test it out, right?