College life is full of deadlines, demands, and frustrations. Modern life has become so full of stress that for many it has become commonplace. Although stress in small doses can help to increase a sense of urgency and productivity, if you are constantly running in stress mode, your mind and body will pay a heavy toll. Luckily, we’ve perused the web for the best tips to integrate meditation into your daily life to combat stress.
What is meditation?
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years since around the 1st century B.C.E. Most scholars agree that the practice started in India, but then spread via the Silk Road to other parts of Asia and abroad. Originally meditation was used to attain spiritual truth, but nowadays it can be used by anyone to relax and center. Meditation can be especially useful for college students who have to deal with exams, group projects, thesis reports, and finding a job after graduation.
1. Sit Up Straight
Whether you’re in class, studying at a desk at home, or riding the public transport to and from school, it’s important to maintain a proper posture. Keeping your spine straight will help you to feel focused and more confident, as well as reduce fatigue and strain on your body’s muscles.
- Become aware of how you sit and stand, and then correct your posture.
- Keep your back straight, and your shoulders back.
- Imagine there is a string on the top of your head pulling your head straight up.
2. Notice your breath
Breathing is an automatic function of the body. When we are stressed our body goes into “fight or flight” mode and breathes quickly. When we are relaxed we breathe slowly and gently through our noses. Luckily, we have the power to monitor and adjust our breathing patterns to deal with stressful situations.
- Become aware of your breath when you feel stressed. Notice the speed of your breath. Is your breathing shallow and quick? Are you taking deep breaths?
- Begin to slow your breathing and take long, deep breaths through your nose.
- Deliberately copying a relaxed breathing style will calm your nervous system.
Stretching is a great way to prevent stress, as well as relieve the symptoms of stress. Stretching gets the blood flowing in your body and increases circulation. By incorporating stretching into your daily routine many see noticeable benefits such as increased energy.
- Keep each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
- Breathe deep into the tension while stretching
- Incorporate stretching into your daily routine
4. Generate moments of daily awareness
Our minds are constantly engaged in repetitive thinking patterns. By calming your mind and becoming aware, you can bring attention and focus into your life, and perceive events without judgement. When you feel stressed, bring your attention to the present moment. This will help you to feel grounded and present. Consider this wise quote by Thich Nhat Hanh:
“If I’m incapable of washing dishes joyfully, if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have a cup of tea, I will be equally incapable of drinking the tea joyfully.
With the cup in my hands I will be thinking about what to do next, and the fragrance and the flavor of the tea together with the pleasure of drinking it will be lost.
I will always be dragged into the future, never able to live in the present moment.”
5. Be grateful
According to Robert Emmons, Ph.D. of the University of California Davis, gratitude is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Dr. Emmons found that those who view life as a gift experience benefits such as stronger relationships and greater health.
- Say thanks!
- Remember happy times, and be grateful for the past.
- Put sticky notes with thankful sayings in places you will see them each day. This will help you to make gratitude a daily habit.