Relaxation through meditation

We all know how stressful finals week can be. On top of what life brings us, finals can be a particularly hard time for students.

There are different ways to cope with stress. Some things that can benefit anybody dealing with stress include getting a good night’s sleep often, eating a healthy and balanced diet full of whole foods and meals that aren’t full of processed ingredients, and exercising.

One form of stress relief is meditation. Meditation is the practice of calming your mind and body and becoming mindful. To be mindful means to be aware of the thoughts and emotions your mind and body are experiencing in the moment.

Emma Terry, a freshman biology major from Richmond, Virginia, said she meditates with the help of an app.

“I use an app called meditation,” she said. “It has a free fiveweek plan where it has guided meditation about breathwork and visualization and feeling.”

Beginning meditation can seem intimidating with the amount of different practices and methods which can be overwhelming. It has been a practice for thousands of years across the world and may even lower blood pressure according to the American Heart Association, as well as reduce stress, calm racing thoughts, as well as an array of other benefits.

One simple meditation practice can be done anywhere at any time. First, sit down somewhere as comfortably as possible. This can be on a piece of furniture or on the ground, inside or outside. Next, close your eyes and notice what all of your senses are experiencing. Notice what you can feel, hear, taste and smell.

As you sit, try to calm your mind. When you begin, you will experience racing or intrusive thoughts– this is normal. Don’t try to block these thoughts or be upset by their presence. Instead, imagine each thought as a singular car on a train passing by in the eye of your mind.

Practice letting thought come and pass. Do this for five minutes or more whenever you are feeling stressed. It is important to realize that your thoughts are simply thoughts and not a reflection of who you are.

“Grounding and centering exercises are great for people with busy brains,” sophomore marine science major Abbey Zegarski said. “I either listen to a guided meditation, or I do stim motions a lot to keep my brain from going all over the place.”