The first term is coming to a close at BHS and many students, including myself, are working like crazy trying to ensure a solid report card. Tests, projects, and homework assignments leave so many feeling overwhelmed and in need of a coping mechanism: meditation might be a solution for you. It certainly isn’t going to lift all school-related stress, but with practice and focus, it can be a helpful tool in the box of a highschool student.
Anyone can meditate with no prior experience so long as they have a quiet environment and chair to sit in! The key component to meditating is trying to clear your mind as much as possible; thinking about your breathing and nothing else tends to yield the best results, but anything simple and rhythmic works. Being in a comfortable position without loud noise, bright light, or other distractions makes this significantly easier — with skill, these can be blocked out. It might get frustrating at times, and even those who have been meditating for years deal with wandering thoughts and spontaneous changes in attention. Like most things, practice and determination will show satisfying improvements.
Meditation is all about controlling your mind, calming your body, and suppressing your stress. Mr. Flanagan — who teaches AP European History, US History, and the History of Sports in American Society — has been practicing meditation with his students since the beginning of the pandemic, doing it before tests, exams, and even normal classes. He reports that it “helps us to focus or refocus, relax and reduce anxiety” which the majority of his students agree with. Across more than 200 studies reviewed by the American Psychological Association, researchers found that meditation-based therapy was “especially effective for reducing stress, anxiety” and even more “specific problems including depression.”
It can be difficult to find time within school hours to meditate effectively, and some creativity and effort might be necessary. Before the first bell, in a quiet place, is an easy option for most students; if you can get to a class quickly and take a couple minutes to meditate, that works too! The beauty about meditation is that it is versatile in where it can be done, and for how long. It also isn’t exclusive to school-related work; meditation can be utilized to reduce anxiety before sports, concerts, or simply when life feels a little too much. Regardless of how you feel stressed throughout life, meditation is one amazing option to calm your nerves and I think you should certainly try it.
This article originally appeared in the Braintree High Student Press.