Why Do Students Need to Meditate?
Have you ever noticed that every other day we hear or read stories about young people taking their own lives? Isn't it alarming that the number is increasing because the mental health crisis in our young generation has spread like cancer? Talk about our college students, they are definitely navigating through time which is not only overwhelming but also disturbing owing to many reasons. In this blog, I specifically want to discuss them because I feel like it's the need of the hour. It is about time that we should talk more about their mental health because the future belongs to our young generation.
Student mental health is a significant and growing concern on college campuses across the United States. An estimated one in three students meets the criteria for a clinically significant mental health problem.
Source: Psychiatric Services
And I seriously think that it’s time that we tell them the beauty of doing meditation for their own benefit. Let's see if this blog will bring millennials to the yoga mat or not.
Stats on Students Suffering from Poor Mental Health
A study by American Psychological Association (APA) stated that gen Z is stressed way more than any other generation. And the reasons seem quite fair. After the pandemic, every activity became online that has tripped students in zoom classes. Students got isolated from their peer group, and the workload doubled, and so does their assignments. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. They had this fear of staying fit and healthy because apparently, the pandemic was engulfing everyone in its death trap. They had fear for their future and good grades – so yes, the pandemic did add fuel to worsening the mental health of the young generation.
Active Minds is a non-profit organization that works on creating awareness on mental health raised a concern on the rising number of students struggling with the mental health crisis. According to the stats shared by the organization, 39% of college students suffer from mental health problems. A 2017 study by Psychiatric Services stated that the percentage of college students suffering from mental health issues diagnosed has increased by 14% from 2007 to 2017.
Why Meditation for Students is Important?
It’s indeed alarming seeing these stats and studies, and not knowing what immediate course of action to take, but hey I do want to share something that can take this situation under control. Yoga and meditation. Some institutes have started yoga and meditation classes for students to help them deal with their academic and social issues, and it is a good start. Yoga is a way of life, a remedy to self-destructive thoughts, and a mantra to create self-awareness and discipline. Whereas mediation, on the other hand, creates a positive brainwave pattern that encourages healing. It gives you a sneak peek into your innermost feelings and keeps a check on negative thoughts and emotions building up inside you.
Yoga requires students to have a strong commitment towards achieving their goals and giving maximum effort. Students who take up yoga and meditation as their daily routine can have a better quality of life than those who refrain from incorporating them.
Let's find out how with the help of mediation, students can keep a check on their mental health.
Reduced Academic Stress
As a student, I know how tiring it was for me to take lectures and notes, sometimes without even a break. Fatigue really has a way to limit your ability to perform your best. And it is kind of obvious that jumbling between lectures and taking notes, one has all the right to feel drained. But with that comes the undesired consequences too, which can be controlled with meditation. And guess what, all you need is a yoga mat.
If students get to practice meditation, it will significantly reduce their stress and improve their grades. It will help them feel active, concentrate better, and especially enhance their resistance to the physical outcomes of stress.
Increased IQ Levels
Less than the time young people spend on their social media handles, they have a really good chance of increasing their memory and IQ level. It is believed that 20 minutes of mediation sessions elevates mood and cognitive efficiency, which is the foundational basis of fluid intelligence. An increase of 23% in IQ level has been noted among participants who meditated for the purpose of a study. And a good thing is, you don’t have to sit on the yoga mat for hours to reap the benefits. Only 20 minutes are enough to get the most out of it.
One of the reasons is that deep meditation slows down brain activity. With slower brainwaves, the brain increases its ability to reorganize itself. When you give your brain some rest, it improves itself.
Reduced Depression and Anxiety
Meditation does not reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety by blocking out the negative thoughts in your brain. In fact, it makes you aware of the existence of these thoughts in your brain and makes you understand that you don’t have to act on them.
"Meditation trains the brain to achieve sustained focus, and to return to that focus when negative thinking, emotions, and physical sensations intrude — which happens a lot when you feel stressed and anxious."
Hippocampus is the region in the brain that stores memory and meditation helps by protecting this region. A study found out that the gray matter in the hippocampus region increased in the participants who did 30 minutes of meditation sessions for eight weeks. There is research indicating the small volume of gray matter in the hippocampus in people who suffered from recurrent episodes of depression.
Decline in Negative Addiction
Poor mental health often leads young people to destructive behavior such as alcohol, smoking, or overeating. They tend to build negative addictions and see them as an escape from the real world. Controlling the potentially addictive behavior is an achievement, and mediation has the power to do this. Studies found positive data on the effective use of guided meditation to cut off substance abuse and destructive habits. Guided meditation, even in some cases, proved three times more effective than any other preventive medication and educational programs.
The most effective programs address the true reason for addiction — unhappiness. What is the root cause of unhappiness, and therefore, addiction? Not living consciously. Once meditation has rooted out the true source of your unhappiness, your life will transform on many levels — and highly conscious, mindful, addiction-free living will become natural.
Reduced Number of Sick Leaves
You may think how meditation is linked with a reduced number of sick leaves but there lies a connection. Studies have shown that daily practice of meditation improves the immune system by reducing stress. Pressure and stress do affect our physical health and weakens our immune system. So you see, when a student gets into the habit of practicing mediation for few minutes daily, he actually frees his body from the unsolicited stress. This results in better health and thus reduced sick leaves.
If you're constantly under stress, you can have physical symptoms, such as headaches, an upset stomach, high blood pressure, chest pain, and problems with sleep. Stress can also lead to emotional problems, depression, panic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry.
Source: How Stress Affects Your Health
Improved Cardiovascular Health
When we go through a stressful day, our body releases stress hormones, which then charge forward, speeds up our heart rate and blood pressure. Daily meditation helps to reduce anxiety, blood pressure and that's how it reduces hypertension that students face on daily basis. This hypertension is the culprit in toying with our heart and can get fatal too. A study showed that after few months of meditating, students who were previously at risk of hypertension observed a substantial change in their blood pressure.
Meditation activates our bodies’ “rest-and-digest” functions, which counteracts our “flight-or-fight” responses. Integrating the practice into a daily routine has been linked to lower heart rate and blood pressure, which may lower your risk of heart disease.
Meditation is a simple practice that you can do anywhere anytime, and guess what, you don’t need any fancy fitness equipment for that. Just a yoga mat and you are good to start. Xn8 Sports is manufacturing prime-quality yoga mats that you may feel tempted to buy for meditation sessions. Visit their website and order your yoga mat now to calm down the storm within you and to live a brighter future.