Using meditation to reduce student stress
By Estelle Chavous
Stress, anxiety, and depression have all been reported as top factors that negatively impact academic performance. In 2012, a National College Health Assessment Report found that within the last 12 months, 55 percent of undergraduates and 57 percent of graduates experienced “more than average” or “tremendous amounts of stress.”
Additionally according to the USC National College Health Assessment Report, 6 percent of undergraduate and 4 percent of graduate students have been seen by a mental healthcare professional at their campus.
Stress is an epidemic crossing all social, cultural and economic classes. The good news is stress can be managed by the simple practice of meditation.
There are many studies that have shown that alternative therapies like meditation have relieved stress in both acute and chronic stress suffers. It has successfully been used by students to prevent negative responses to a stressor or get you through that stressful assignment due date.
There are many different meditative techniques that can get you to that calm state, and research has shown that 15-20 minutes a day is all you need to see the benefit.
Here is a simple meditative practice to get you started:
- Find a comfortable place to sit in silence alone.
- Close your eyes.
- Take deep (chakra) breaths (inhaling and exhaling… imagining that you are releasing the stressor).
- Imagine you are in the place of calm. (This place is different for everyone and it is your personal favorite place.)
- As you meditate thoughts will come to mind that are distracting. Think back on this place of calm and don’t allow them to stay. As you meditate more, you will be able to master getting these distraction out of your head.
- Stay in that comfortable state for 15 minutes. You may need to build your time from 5 to 10 to 15 minutes.
- Open your eyes with at least three deep breaths and go back a face the world!
It may seem different or even weird at first, but it works. If done daily, preferable first thing in the morning, you will be amazed at the new responses you’ll have to stress in your life.
About the Author
Estelle Chavous, MBA is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Business and Professional Studies. She is the global launch marketing product manager for Schneider Electric in Orange County and a frequent speaker about stress management. She serves as a health and fitness coach specializing in bio-individuality.
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