While there is great value in the lessons taught in school, one practice might be worth stepping away from the books for ten minutes each day to sit still and reset. Meditation, both transcendent and mindful is a technique used to train the mind and foster awareness to achieve a clear mind and emotionally calm state. The practice of meditation can have a significant on students as they work through various stressors of school, and here is how it can benefit them:
Improves focus and memory
While there are different ways to practice meditation, from focusing on the breath to a specific mantra, or an object in the room, the overarching goal of meditation is to come back to that space when the mind drifts away. It takes focus to be able to return to the present when thoughts run rampant. Over time, meditation trains the mind to focus, and the benefits manifest in all areas of life.
Meditation can help offer immediate clarity for students by taking a few moments to close the eyes and notice the breath, as they learn to be present and pay attention to their thoughts. The need to focus on school is paramount, but not just for grades and exam scores. The ability to concentrate fosters feelings of contentment and promotes mental and emotional wellbeing.
Promotes a sense of calm
From managing time to managing debt, there is an endless list of reasons why students in school are prone to stress. While stress is a normal and healthy reaction in some situations, too much is unhealthy and unhelpful. Stress manifests in physical symptoms from a high heart rate or blood pressure, headaches, and trouble sleeping. All of this ultimately leads to emotional and mental turmoil, which distracts students and may even leave them feeling panicked or depressed.
Meditation can help students connect with their breath so they can consciously slow it down and foster a mindful state of mind. Deep exhales activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming the body and lowering the heart rate. It is common for students to experience anxiety, and when one becomes anxious, they tend to take shorter breaths, which tells the body to be more alert and leads to even more feelings of anxiety. By merely exhaling and letting go of tension, students can achieve a sense of release in any stressful situation.
Reduces fear and anxiety
Schedules and routines continuously change for students, as each semester or school year welcomes new challenges, new teachers, and new material to learn. For some students, this means new fears, worries, and self-limiting beliefs. Especially now, with the impact of COVID and the current lockdown, students are left to study outside of their usual environment and learn a lot independently. Plus, they miss out on meaningful life and social experiences that are essential for feeling happy and grounded and developing a sense of purpose.
More often than not, anxiety and fear are things that exist in either the past or future. Students worry over test grades or mistakes that they cannot go back and change. They worry over upcoming exams as they further stress over not having limited time to study. Meditation can help ease those worries by bringing them back to the present moment. By focusing on the breath and sensations in the present moment, students can focus on the tasks at hand and tune into the importance of the now.