A student’s guide to meditation
Meditation is the name for a host of practices from around the world, which all have the aim of focusing and clearing your mind so you can see past the details and get the bigger picture. It’s the perfect way to tackle exam stress, feeling homesick, calming a distracted mind and much more.
Now, we’re no expert but we’ve done some research. One of the simplest forms of meditation is Anapanasati, taught by Siddhartha Gautama, the original Buddha. The term literally means ‘to listen to one’s breath’.
How do you do it?
Find a quiet place, take five minutes, and breathe deeply, getting air all the way in while focusing on the rise and fall of your breathing. Setting time aside to do this every day, or whenever you’re starting to feel stressed, will help to bring inner calm. It requires no gym membership or venue - and you don’t need to invest in special yoga pants.
Other religions offer their own meditative traditions, such as the meditation upon Biblical scenes or images in Christianity, or Dhikr, the silent repetition of short phrases in Sufi Islam. The repetition of a word or saying (often called a mantra) is a common feature in meditative practices around the world. Told you we did our research 😉.
So why not give it a go? Of course, you’re not limited to any official reading list - you could try repeating your desired exam grade, your ideal choice of career, or some personal quality you want more of in your life - anything that helps you focus on what’s important to you and shifts your mind away from negative thoughts.
If you’re looking for help and ideas, there are lots of useful apps available for your phone too. From Headspace to Calm, these kinds of apps allow you to set and save the meditation routines that work for you, as well as helping you to stick to them. That’s the hard part, right?
Headspace offers an exclusive discount to students, as well as a meditation plan just for students; from helping you prepare for exams to including super short sessions so you can find some zen between lectures - learn more here.
Although apps can be a great way to start meditation, a lot of stress and anxiety today can be caused by our online lives. So if you want to go somewhere offline, why not try a real-life meetup group based around meditation?
Check out societies and activities hosted by your university. There are bound to be some like-minded individuals out there who are looking to take part in communal meditation sessions. Or why not set up your own? Regardless of how serious you are about meditation, it’s a great way to get out and meet new people.