Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

As the amount of school work grows at a seemingly unmanageable rate, as the focus level of anyone even attempting to challenge what appears to be an insurmountable amount of work, as the initial “buzz” of college education dies faster than a New Year’s resolution, we often times find ourselves staring at our textbooks and not really reading, at our keyboards not really typing, at our clocks desperately wishing the day to be over.  I always start the semester with great intentions, but slowly I slip into a “let’s just get this over with attitude.”  However, recently I learned something that benefits anyone finding themselves not being able to pay attention to their work.  Something simply called: meditation.

Research suggests meditation is beneficial for the mind.  Studies have shown meditation actually can re-orient some aspects of neural processing; from an area of the brain associated with depression, a term sciences call neuroplasticity to an area associated with more positive feelings, which makes people feel happier and more relaxed.  According to a study conducted by the University of Leuven, teaching teenagers how to practice mindfulness meditation can help reduce stress, and anxiety.

Additionally, people who meditate regularly have longer attention spans, something particularly useful for long, late nights at the library finishing up assignments.  Additionally, studies indicate that meditation lowers stress levels, lowers blood pressure, boosts mood, and helps people keep their emotions under control.  With high blood pressure being a rising health issue here in the United States, as well as stress and depression both plaguing many Americans, meditation proves invaluable since everyone has the ability to practice it.

How does one harness these seemingly magical bonuses meditation has to offer? Just relax, sit back in a chair and focus entirely on the environment.  Breathing is always a good choice; it’s slow, rhythmic, and constant.  Any background noise is good.  The important thing to remember is to keep thoughts of anything away.  The goal is to get to, and maintain for the time period, a perfectly clean, clear mind.  Research claims 30 minutes a day works well, but I myself feel better even with just 10.  Just by doing this, I’ve been able to stay more relaxed and focused throughout the day, as well as more productive.  Not to mention it’s very easy to practice and can be done virtually anywhere.

Next time, when school work and commitments pile up in a seemingly unconquerable mess, and when focus and productivity are both playing elusive games of “keep-away”, relax, take a few minutes and meditate the stress away.  With increased focus and productivity, school work will melt like snow underneath a summer sun, books will be read and keyboards put to good use, and the rest of the day will be free from strenuous school work.  Go ahead, give it a try, there is nothing to lose.

Adam Farence is a third-year student majoring in history and French. He can be reached at AF764146@wcupa.edu.

 

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