Feeling stressed isn’t just a side effect of finals week. It can be a presence all semester long. A great fix for de-stressing and increasing intellectual stability is meditation. Mediation involves a focus of attention and an open attitude. It doesn’t take long, and it’s cheap as well; all you need to meditate is a quiet, distraction-free space and a comfortable position- sitting, lying down, or even walking works. There are several easy ways to focus your attention. Methods include following and being aware of your breathing, repeating a mantra, concentrating on a simple visual object, or visualizing yourself in a tranquil place.
The benefits of meditation are many. It can help improve focus, lessen anxiety, and overall positively affect a person’s mood. Practicing meditation regularly teaches the brain to focus even when not meditating. Meditation plays a role in how we process pains and emotions and helps us control which senses and stimulation our minds pay attention to. Whether you mediate for five minutes or a half hour, any amount of time can help you to de-stress. Getting into a routine of meditating for the same amount of time every day can be very advantageous.
If you want to try meditation, Pitt’s Stress Free Zone is a great place to start. It is open Monday through Friday from 11:00am to 2:00pm. There are both walk-in hours and scheduled programs, the dates and times of which are available on its website: http://www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/mindbody?q=node/731. If you would rather try meditation on your own, check out this link to the Stress Free Zone’s Mind and Body page, which offers a guide to several styles of meditation and includes audio: http://www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/mindbody.