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Top 5 Ways Meditation Can Help You In School

May 16, 2017

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Meditation and the practice of Mindfulness in particular is quickly proving to be one of the most important life skills you can have.  Both science and spirituality have come to understand some of the more important workings of the mind, and we are beginning to see that a daily meditation practice, and in particular a practice of mindfulness meditation can have a number of surprising benefits in your life.  

  1. Calming & Stress Management
  2. Focus & Concentration
  3. Energy Management
  4. Prefrontal Cortex
  5. Happiness

Top 5 Ways Meditation Can Help You In SchoolTop 5 Ways Meditation Can Help You In School

Calming and Stress Management

Even from a young age stress can begin to have serious effects on your health and happiness.  Your brain and nervous system have 2 basic settings: Stressed and Relaxed.  In the stress state, you are basically feeling fear, and your body is literally preparing to run away from the danger or fight!  This uses up all your energy tensing muscles and increasing your heartbeat.  It takes away energy from your digestion and immune system, so when we are in a constant state of stress that is when you get sick!

By practicing Mindfulness Meditation we learn to relax our minds and bodies, so we stay in the relaxed state where our energy is spread evenly through all the systems in our bodies and our brains, which we will talk more about later, AND we can lower the point at which we switch out of relax into stress, so less things get us stressed out. 

Focus & Concentration

By spending more time in relax mode, we free up our head space to concentrate on the tasks in front of us, like studying for an exam!  Think about the last time you were studying, or trying to study… how many times were you distracted by twitter, Instagram, text messages from your friends?  Now think about studying with your phone turned off.  Different? 

Well even with your phone turned off, your brain is still going to constantly bombard you with thoughts, ideas and reminders.  By learning to be mindful we can greatly improve our powers of concentration and increase access to the areas of our brain where learning occurs.  And, when its time for the exam, using meditation will calm your nerves and allow you better access to your memory circuits and creative centers.

Energy Management

Science has shown that 20 minutes of meditation has the same effect as 5 hours of sleep!  This is very powerful.  When you get tired, instead of going for a coffee or sugary snack, try drinking a big glass of water and sitting with your back straight, eyes closed focusing on your breath.  Each time you notice your mind wandering just bring your attention back to your breath.  Set a timer and when the chime rings you will be ready and refreshed to get back to whatever project you were working on.

Prefrontal Cortex

Our brains, like the rest of our bodies, have evolved over millions of years, however in the brain is where we see the most growth, change and evolution.  Our brain seems to work like as a system almost like an ice cream cone, with the most primitive part of the brain at the bottom and more developed parts sitting on top.  You guessed it, meditation helps us get out of the primitive fight or flight area of the brain up into the newer areas of the brain where the thoughts that distinguish us from animals occur. 

Everything we see hear smell comes into the brain as information that the primitive parts of the brain use to determine if we are in danger, and for the most part it seems to think everything is dangerous!  So without any over ride button we are locked in a constant state of fear.  When we learn to be mindful we can use our the higher parts of our brain to interpret the signals, to give a second opinion which will show us that for the most part, nothing in our world is really dangerous, so that allows us to interpret things as opportunities to learn explore and enjoy life. 

Happiness

Happiness is a wonderful place where we are free from pain fear or suffering, and engaged in something meaningful, enjoyable or pleasurable.  Hopefully you are starting to notice that there are several factors going on in your head in any given moment that will determine how you feel.  And, that the practice of mindfulness meditation in a positive influence on every one of those factors. 

By learning to watch what is going on in your head rather as a detached observer rather than thinking that YOU ARE what is going on in your head you can learn how to discern whether you are really in danger or not, and you can make pro active decisions as to what actions you will take.  If you are in a place that is not good for you, you can choose to leave, rather than think you have to stay for some reason that is just floating around in your head, and if you are feeling scared about something, a test or sporting event, you can use your discernment to realize you are not actually in danger and you can decide what actions will positively effect your outcome, like studying or going to practice, rather than hiding at home under the covers with your headphones in.  When you start to get good at being mindful, after practicing for a while, you can literally decide to be happy, or move yourself into a place where you actually have a chance to be happy.  

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