Meditating for destressing

By Vanessa Tsao

The Blue and Gold (Shilin, Taipei, Taiwan)

As stress piles onto students faced with myriad homework assignments, tests and deadlines, some cope by procrastinating on social media, while others turn to a different source: meditation. Meditation has become a way of maintaining mental wellness, whether you meditate for several minutes each day or for an hour. Its benefits include boosting cardiovascular and immune health, increasing happiness and slowing aging.

Bella Kintzley (‘19) began meditating while she was doing research on Eastern philosophies and the various associated cultural beliefs and practices. “I try to meditate about two to three times a week for 10-30 minutes each time,” she says. She uses an app, Breathe, which helps her find specific guided meditations matched to her mental or physical state. She says, “It is really relaxing to meditate in candlelight with my window open on a rainy day because I get to hear the rain falling outside, but I’m inside this soft environment.” She enjoys meditation and the benefits it brings to her mind: “Along with feeling the negative effects of stress less, it also helps me become more focused on the tasks following meditation.”

Film, drama and Theory of Knowledge teacher Mr. Jaami Franklin began his meditation journey in college, when he studied philosophy, including Zen Buddhism. “We learned many techniques, and had to meditate up to an hour in class,” he says. Now, he meditates daily for a few minutes in the morning, with a focus on deep breathing. “The benefits of meditation on mind and body are well-documented, but for me it’s a great mechanism for re-calibration and perspective-gaining. Rather than trying to ‘clear my mind,’ I actually use the meditation space quite productively, to heighten my focus, awareness, and presence, so I don’t suffer mental fatigue from over-thinking things,” says Mr. Franklin.

Mr. Franklin even uses meditation as a teaching tool in his classroom, as he incorporates a short meditation at the beginning of his English and Theory of Knowledge classes. The decision to use meditation in class along with cross-hemispheric brain exercises was not only because of the abundance of research showing that it boosts cognitive function, but also to “focus and stimulate students, and to ward off anxiety.” He adds that it also supports the academic goal of self-reflection.

Featured Image: Psychology Spot

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