There are several strategies which students engage in in order to keep their stress levels under control and improve their overall well-being. Some of these include playing sports, going for walks and making time for friends and family. Another strategy which may not be as common across all students is practicing meditation. However, meditation is a fantastic strategy that comes with a range of benefits to help students stay calm during stressful periods, reduce anxiety and promote a sense of reflection and self-awareness in students.
Stress and Anxiety Reduction
All students have experienced the feelings of stress and/or anxiety at some point, particularly during exam periods or busy times during the term. Hence, taking a moment out of their day to practice meditation is highly beneficial to get these feelings under control. Guided meditations which can be found for free online or using Apps such as Calm or Headspace are great for beginners, which guide students through visualisation techniques and controlled breathing to bring a sense of calm back into their day. Scientific studies on meditation have shown its proven effects on reducing anxiety, paranoia and panic attacks. Students may also find that incorporating physical movement into their mediation, for example through the form of yoga or pilates, can reduce muscle tightness and the overall tension that occurs as a result of stress.
Attention Span and Focus
Studies have also shown that meditation has other benefits for students, including lengthening their attention span and ability to focus. This is because meditating reverses the brain patterns that lead to low attention levels, mind-wandering and worrying. This is extremely important for students as it will enhance their ability to study without procrastinating and reduce their susceptibility to distractions. Students may find that 5 minutes of controlled breathing before a study session with allow them to effectively enter into the right mind space to focus on their work. Similarly, if students find themselves becoming overwhelmed during their studies, taking the time out to meditate and mentally go to a calmer and happier place will allow their brains to recharge as they enter a relaxed state of mind before continuing with their work.
Another important benefit of meditation is the proven effects it has on improving sleep cycles. Tiredness is a feeling that all students face as they attempt to balance their busy school, work, social and family lives, therefore getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night is critical, however not always achievable for every student. Even whilst students may get to bed at a reasonable time, their busy minds will often keep them from staying sound asleep. Hence, practicing meditation before bed is a great way to end the day and reduce runaway thoughts. Audiobooks are a great option for this type of mediation, as students can fall asleep listening to calming stories. In addition to this, students should also aim to switch off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed and avoid eating late at night to help them get to sleep sooner.
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