By Lisa Aparicio, UC Davis Nutrition Peer Counselor
Welcome Back Aggies! Fall quarter 2022 has just begun and we are ready to start it off right by prioritizing our mental/physical health and wellness. Cheers to another year of progress towards our goals! We are back again this year providing you with information and tips surrounding lifestyle, nutrition, mental wellness, and fitness. Today’s topic is Meditation.
Meditation. Over the last few years there has been an increased awareness of meditation and the benefits it may bring. Meditation is nothing more than a simple mindfulness practice.
Can’t imagine sitting alone with your thoughts? Or even just sitting still? I completely understand! Our lives as college students are nonstop and with the fast pace and pressure of the quarter system any size task can seem too overbearing.
But, maybe after reviewing the 5 ways meditation can make you a more efficient student below, you’ll be willing to give it a 2-week trial run!
Here are 5 ways meditation can help make you a more efficient student:
- Stress Reduction. Stress is caused by the increased level of a stress hormone called Cortisol in our brain which leads to emotional dysregulation. Through mindfulness meditation our brain creates new neuropath ways, which activates a different part of our brain during stressful situations allowing us to regulate our emotions more efficiently and stay calm. This can look like remaining calm when your professor announces the date for your next midterm. Or not panicking when you remember you still have a club meeting to attend after a full day of class.
- Improve memory and concentration Through the practice of mindfulness meditation you will begin to increase your focus by bringing your attention to the present moment. Focusing on your breath while meditating will allow you to concentration on the here and now essentially enhancing your attention span and memory. This would be extremely beneficial for in person lecture classes and for overall mental health as a student.
- Increase empathy for peers. Having control of your emotions will allow interacting with unfamiliar peers more enjoyable because you are able to remain in a neutral less reactive state. In addition, some meditation practices are tailored to increase self-love and positive thinking patterns. This positive mindset and extension of love and kindness can then spread to family and peers.
- Improves sleep Mindfulness meditation can help improve sleep quality by teaching the mind to be present in the now and allowing it to disconnect from the chaos of everyday life. It promotes a calm relax state after a long day of being overstimulated. Meditation can also help students with insomnia by helping you learn to control and redirect your racing mind, allowing you to fall to sleep faster and get the rest your body needs to function optimally.
- Improve health. Meditation can help improve both mental and physiological health. Practicing mindfulness reduces anxiety and stress put on the body by our emotional mind. As a result, reducing anxiety and stress promotes a stronger immune system and reduces blood pressure. Meditation shifts us from using our sympathetic nervous system “fight-or-flight” to our parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest) which allows the body to relax, repair itself, and recharge. Reducing the amount of occurrences we get sick as a college student is very important to our academic success.
Will you be willing to take a short break for only 3-10 minutes a day (at anytime!) to try a mindfulness practice? To see in what ways meditation may positively impact your life? Here is a short, guided mindfulness video to get you started: https://youtu.be/ssss7V1_eyA
Share your experience in the comments!