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Benefits of Meditation for Students

Benefits of Meditation for Students

Meditation, a practice that calms the mind and induces a sense of peace and harmony within the mind and body is beneficial for students in more ways than one. Today’s students are under immense pressure. Whether it is keeping up grades, performance in sports and athletics, or enduring peer pressure. It’s not uncommon to feel stressed, anxious or burnt out.  

How can meditation help students

Practicing meditation allows students to pause, de-stress and refocus. It enables one to align with goals, and even reality, letting go of unrealistic, negative thoughts and feelings. It helps students self-regulate and prioritize effortlessly, while also boosting overall health and fostering compassion and respect. Many studies have also shown how meditation can alter the brain itself, and support the development of brain structures when it comes to development (Davidson, 2008; Chiesa & Serretti, 2010), learning (Hölzel et al, 2011) and emotion (Lutz, 2008; Desbordes, 2012). 

The practice also enables better breathing and mindfulness, which when inculcated at a young age is far more beneficial. Once this is a habit, it becomes something that stays with a person even when they start their career. Studies conducted on over 1,800 students found that meditation improved mental well-being, academic skills, and social abilities. It was also found meditation led to better concentration on tasks, improved self-confidence and a more positive outlook in life. Meditation has also been linked to better IQ levels and subsequently better grades. 

Furthermore, meditation establishes the mind-body connection and promotes positive behavior. The practice activates the parasympathetic nervous system, decreasing activity in the sympathetic nervous system. This enables students to handle stress in a better, positive way. It also helps students deal with the influence of external factors like social media influence, peer pressure and community-driven factors in one’s respective environment and society. 

In a nutshell, here are the top benefits of meditation for students: 

  • Greater focus, memory and concentration 
  • Improved self-confidence, self-esteem and sense of self-worth
  • A more positive body image 
  • Improved creativity and productivity 
  • A sense of calm, inner peace and balance 
  • Better academics leading to higher grades 
  • Improved performance in sports and athletics 
  • More positive social relationships 
  • Enhanced cognitive function and learning skills
  • Better emotional balance 

Scientifically, meditation increases serotonin levels in the brain. This makes one feel happier and positive, reducing any feelings of lowness. It activates brain areas that help regulate cognitive function and behavior. This enhances productivity and decision-making. The positivity that comes with meditation reduces negative, destructive behavior. It even helps one overcome addictions like smoking and drug abuse due to the mental strength developed. Many students find it hard to deal with the current-day stressors and pressures at school. Meditation will help navigate these issues by helping refocus and manage emotions. Collectively, it reduces aggression and boosts positivity. Physically and physiologically, along with other yogic practices, it improves immunity and overall health. 

Tips for students to practice meditation

  1. Start with just about 10-minutes a day and slowly increase the time. 
  2. Be consistent. Even if you are in a hurry or short on time, take out a few minutes to practice. Once it is a habit, it will be effortless. 
  3. Practice with a teacher in the beginning. 
  4. Sit in the same place every day for your practice. 
  5. Try out 2-3 types of meditation until you are comfortable with one.  
  6. If you find your mind wandering, simply focus on your breath. 

Types of meditation for students

Mindfulness meditation

A popular meditation today, this practice enables one to pay attention to thoughts without judging or forcefully changing them. One is guided through observing the thoughts as if they are a spectator. It induces awareness of thoughts and subsequently helps change any negative patterns. Sometimes, while the thoughts come and go, one might also be asked to focus on the breath. Mindfulness meditation forces you to stay in the present rather than letting thoughts wander into the past or worry about the future. It also encourages one to be aware of the present surroundings without judgements or opinions. 

While it can be practiced on your own, it is more impactful when guided by a teacher. With more practice, mindfulness becomes second nature to you and it can be something you practice anywhere by simply focusing on the present moment, surroundings and thoughts. Over a period of time, mindfulness reduces negative emotions and thoughts, improves focus, memory and concentration. It reduces impulsive, emotional reactions and encourages better relationships. 

Movement meditation

Movement meditation is an interesting and different practice for students. Rather than sitting in one place for a period of time, which might be difficult for youngsters, this meditation is an active form where movement guides you towards a deeper connection with your mind and body, bringing you to the present moment. It enables body awareness and resonates with those who find peace in action. One could use walking, running, dance or daily chores as movements to be observed. Movement meditation is best suited for students and should be practiced before any sitting still method.  

Breath meditation

This is often practiced as part of mindful meditation as focusing on the breath encourages mindfulness. This is also best done under the guidance of a teacher. During the practice you will be asked to breathe slowly, deeply, and count your breaths. You might also be asked to focus on the subtle sound of breath - ‘So’ when you breathe in, and ‘Hum’ when you breathe out. This is also called “So-hum meditation“. Unlike mindfulness meditation where you are a spectator of your thoughts, in breath meditation, you are only focusing on your breath. The benefits are very similar. In breath meditation also, you will become more mindful of the present, let go of negative emotions and thoughts, and improve focus, memory and concentration. 

Affirmations meditation

This meditation focuses on making you more confident, positive and content with yourself. In this guided practice, certain lines of affirmations are given. For example, once a stable state of mind and body is established, you are asked to repeat ‘I am happy, content and confident of my abilities. Today, I will only say yes to that which serves me.’ You will be asked to repeat this a few times while taking deep breaths and letting your thoughts flow as they are. This is impactful as it makes you confident of who you are, letting go of pressures from the external world.

Guided relaxation

Also called Yoga Nidra, this is a relaxation technique that promotes body scanning and reduces tension in the body. It improves awareness of the self and has a significant impact on the subconscious mind. Guided practices have the ability to overwrite impressions in the subconscious, thus being a strong practice for those looking to release stress and anxiety or those dealing with disorders, pain, etc. It can be done while lying down and at any time of the time. During this practice, you are asked to rotate awareness throughout the body as called out by the instructor. Starting from the right hand  and working your way to the rest of the body. It also involves breath exercises, visualization and a resolve. It is a wonderful practice to improve sleep, let go of tension and to relax and restore. 

Meditation takes time. Do not get discouraged if you find yourself restless or unable to sit for long. Simply show up for your practice, start slow and give it time. Once you start seeing the benefits of it, you will want to practice regularly. Make meditation the one constant in your life amidst all the ever changing aspects of life.

Benefits of Meditation for Students
Shvasa Editorial Team

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