Meditation and mindfulness practices are commonly thought of as Middle Eastern rituals that Buddhists practice, involving long orange robes and sitting on rocks for long hours of the day. While this is true, this is definitely the most aggressive form of mindfulness: meditation and relaxation techniques can be practiced by anybody.
Meditation is an excellent habit to get into, especially if you are a student. Students, whether in high school or college, experience stress and anxiety from school work, relationships, family, etc. Even just ten minutes a day can change your life for the better and for the calmer.
Mindfulness Can Be Practiced in Any Number of Ways
There are many kinds of meditation practices. Let’s start with the basics. You’ll want to find a nice quiet area. I usually use my room when I meditate. Sit on a chair, on the floor, or on a nice comfy pillow. You can either choose to sit criss cross, one leg on top of the other (half lotus), or both legs crossing each other (full lotus). It takes some flexibility to reach full lotus, but this is the ideal position. Once in a comfortable position, there are many ways to practice.
One way is a kind of awareness meditation called body scan meditation. To do this, start scanning from either the top or bottom of your body, by cross sections, and become aware of bodily sensations. They can be good or bad but just recognize them. You’ll also notice how easily your attention wanders off. Once you realize your thoughts drift, bring your attention back to the body. Meditation is a kind of holistic therapy, holistic meaning dealing with the whole body at once. Body scan meditation can be great as a holistic therapy.
Another great kind of meditation is breath meditation. This is a kind of meditation called “expanding awareness meditation,” and is a bit simpler; you just have to focus on your breath. This is my favorite kind of meditation because it’s easier and brings extremely beneficial results. Focus on your breath, feel the air as you breathe in and breathe out. Listen and pay attention to what it does to your body. Which muscles move when you breathe in? Which muscles contract as you breathe out? You can do this kind of meditation focusing on other things, such as your body, thoughts, sounds around you, and feelings. As always, if you find your thoughts drifting, gently push them away and regain focus on the task at hand.
How Can I Practice Meditation, as a Busy College Student?
Of course, being a student is hard and everyone is always busy. BUT if you want to make a very positive change in your life, it doesn’t take that much time. Think of all the time spent wasted, laying in bed, taking a long shower, watching TV, the list goes on. All it takes is five to ten minutes each day. I like to wake up, shower, eat and then spend some time in meditation. It drastically improves your life and day if you decide to stick with it. Again, if you aren’t sure this is right for you (it’s right for everybody!) please go take the Mindfulness Quiz. It’s very short and will give you very accurate results. Another great way to practice this is just in short, couple minute sessions when you experience an overwhelming emotion or feel stressed out. It’s also beneficial to just practice slowing and controlling your breathing during regular activities during the day.