Benefits of Meditation for StudentsPublished on Oct 17, 2013
Want to feel more calm, think with a clear mind and react thoughtfully to problems? Who doesn’t? There is something you can do to achieve this state of awareness and calm: meditation. You have to commit to about 5-10 minutes a day in order to start seeing benefits. So, let’s explore what those benefits are and you can decide if it’s something that might be worth your time.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation can increase your physical and mental health, and increase your overall happiness and productivity. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), meditation can:
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce depression
- Reduce some symptoms related to illness
- Increase concentration. A UCLA study actually found that long-term meditation can keep your brain cells healthy.
Basics of Meditation
Meditation isn’t just sitting there, zoning out. It’s really concentrating on emptying your mind and stopping it from running. That’s not easy when we’re trained to constantly be multitasking. Doing nothing is harder than it seems. Here are some tips to successfully meditation:
- Turn off all noisy electronics so you are not distracted and can create a calm space for yourself to release your thoughts.
- Sit on the floor with your hips propped up. Put a pillow under your sit bones so your back doesn’t become sore.
- Relax your body. Become aware of what parts of your body are tense and consciously relax them. Closing your eyes and taking deep breaths will help you.
- Focus your attention on your breath. Just paying attention to pulling your breath in and out (try counting 35 slow breaths, which should be about five minutes of mediation) should help to clear your mind.
- Quiet your thoughts. Every time a thought comes up, and it will, try to acknowledge it then push it away.
Types of Meditation
Meditation comes in a lot of different forms. Find the one that works for you.
- Transcendental meditation involves sitting with your eyes closed and detaching yourself from anxiety.
- Prayer meditation focuses more on spiritual goals and gratitude.
- Zen meditation is unique to Zen Buddhism. The goal is to regulate the mind, empty your thoughts and become completely conscious.
- Mindful meditation helps you go deeper into the present moment to become conscious of your issues in life and try to change them for the better.
Where can I go to meditate?
If you’re feeling uneasy about independent meditation and are looking for a group place to meditate, there are several classes in Chicago.
- Meditation Chicago holds free introductory mantra meditation given at various branches of the Chicago Public Library.
- Inner Metamorphosis University holds meditation sessions along with workshops and events. Most are free. 1418 W. Howard.
- The Bodhi Path Buddhist Center offers meditation sessions every Sunday for free, along with workshops and courses. 4043 N. Ravenswood.
- The Zen Buddhist Temple holds introductory courses and retreats for those ready to dive in, plus free meditation services and events. 1710 W. Cornelia.