Most of the time we are all in too much of a hurry; too many thoughts rush into our heads at every moment of the day, and we are constantly stressing about one thing or another. So often people are too focused on the good and bad aspects of their past, or the scary uncertainty of the future. We take the good things we have for granted and put too much focus on what we don’t have instead of taking the time to be happy with what we do have in the present moment.

Not to mention, stress and being a university student go hand in hand. If you didn’t get your ass kicked by the past couple months of midterms and assignments, then you’re abnormally lucky and I’m extremely envious of you. Undoubtedly, the mind can be your own worst enemy and when you add heavy weight of school, it can be a ticking time bomb.

Meditation is an amazing form of stress relief. It prevents stress, it releases pent-up stress, and it leaves you feeling refreshed and relaxed. In a world that never seems to stop moving, it can give us clarity and focus. If practiced regularly, it can be extremely beneficial for your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health. In short, it is AWESOME and everyone should try it!

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Artwork by Jessica Spom

Physical benefits:

  • lowers blood pressure
  • decreases any tension related pain, such as tension headaches
  • improves the immune system
  • increases energy levels
  • elevates mood and behaviour through increased serotonin levels

Mental Benefits:

  • emotional stability improves
  • anxiety decreases
  • happiness increases
  • gain clarity and peace of mind
  • sharpens the mind
  • expanded awareness

namaste

Practicing meditation for the first time might initially seem quite daunting, or down right impossible for some people, but like anything else, practice makes perfect. Here are some tips for beginners:

  1. Set aside a specific time and place in the day to be still.
  2. Pick a quiet place in your house to practice that is free from interruption. The best time to mediate is in the morning. When you first start out, just aim to meditate for 5-10 minutes. As you practice it regularly and you become more comfortable with it, you can increase your time.

  3. Start with the breath.
  4. Focus on your breathing! It is vital to effective mediation, and the key to relaxing your mind and body. Try Inhaling for three seconds, and then exhale for the same amount of time. Repeat five times.

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  5. Experiment!
  6. Traditionally, people sit crossed legged, but as a beginner it is encouraged that you experiment with different types of meditation. Personally, I like to lie on my back with my eyes closed.

  7. Listen to guided meditations, watch tutorials, read books
  8. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is starting out. There are tons of helpful resources online, especially on YouTube.

    Calm.com is an excellent resource that allows you to time your meditation, and also provides calming, relaxing music and sounds to help you focus.

    GetSomeHeadspace.com is another helpful website that simplifies meditation. You can sign up for free, and they also have a downloadable app. To go there click here.

    As for reading, “Wherever You Go There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn  is an amazing book for beginners that describes the benefits of deep meditative states, as well as being a terrific motivator to start practicing.

  9. It’s okay to get frustrated! Don’t stress!
  10. It is very common for beginners to get frustrated as frankly, it’s extremely hard to free your mind of thoughts for a substantial amount of time. Don’t get discouraged if you catch your mind drifting, just really try to focus on your breathing, and let the feelings of frustration go.

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    And if you know seated mediation just isn’t for you, try Yoga! Yoga is an excellent stress reliever and form of exercise that incorporates meditation in a fun and active way. Brock even offers a variety of yoga classes! For more information go here.

    Throughout the week there are a ton of awesome events happening on campus to encourage health and wellness, including several yoga classes!

    Check out the WellnessWeek.ca to learn more and take full advantage of all the upcoming activities.

    And remember, getting good grades is important, but your health and well-being are what matter the most. Namaste Badgers! Have a happy and healthy week.