The Power of Meditation: Actually Freaking Awesome

Leila Lopez

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The English word “meditation” stems from meditatum, a Latin term meaning “to ponder.” To ponder life, thoughts, and actions. Although we can’t know when exactly people began to meditate, experts agree that the practice probably began thousands of years ago, before the birth of modern civilization. Meditating has been around for thousands of years, but many people (including myself) don’t know what it could do for your mental health and stress in our daily lives.

A lot of people deal with mental health issues, (such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc.) mediating is a CAM treatment. CAM stands for Complementary & Alternative Medicine. So essentially mediation could be used in place of medication or complement the medication already being used. When you meditate it clears your mind and helps keep your heartbeat steady. Meditation makes people feel calm and at peace which is essential to a healthy mentality.

Managing stress is important for overall health. Meditation affects the body in the exact opposite ways that stress does because meditating triggers the body’s relaxation response. It restores the body to a calm state, helping the body repair itself and prevent new damage from the physical effects of stress. It can calm your mind and body by lessening the stressful thoughts that keep you tensed. When people stress in their daily lives it is hard to keep a clear mind and take a time-out. Taking just 5-20 minutes out of your day to recuperate and mediate could help you stress less.

For this article, I interviewed my close friend Raevian Macintosh, an AHS graduate. I decided to interview her because Raevian has struggled with high anxiety for most of her life. She has tried several different medications but she has found that meditation has helped her profoundly more. To gain a better understanding I asked Raevian some questions about her routine and I even joined her for a session. Raevian mediates at least 2 times a week. Her favorite time and place to meditate is in her living room during the night and also early morning. The reason why she chooses these times is that she’s “able to go into the day with a clear mind, and at night with a resting heartbeat.”

I joined her at night time for 5 minutes. When meditating it’s always best to start with smaller increments of time or your mind can wander too much. We sat on the floor with our legs crossed and elbows resting on our thighs. We took breaths in and out and focused on our breathing. I also have anxiety and had been very anxious throughout the day, so focusing on just my breathing was quite difficult. But after what felt like a thousand years I couldn’t help but feel comforted in some way. I always have thoughts racing through my head so just focusing on nothing for 5 minutes was enough to make me feel relaxed.

Meditating has been around for thousands of years, but many people don’t know what it could do for mental health and stress in our daily lives. Taking some time to learn about it and actually engaging in it myself was refreshing and very beneficial. To know that something so small could make a powerful impact on somebody’s stress and mental health is exciting. If there is one thing you take away from this article, let it be that meditating is actually freaking awesome.

Sources used:

“Complementary & Alternative Medicine for Mental Health Conditions.” Mental Health America, 4 Oct. 2016, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mentalhealthandcam.

Gross, Dr. Gail. “The Power of Meditation.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 8 Jan. 2018, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-power-of-meditation_us_5a3c3f13e4b0d86c803c7068.

Scott, Elizabeth. “The Benefits of Meditation for Stress Management.” Verywell Mind, Dotdash, 2018, www.verywellmind.com/meditation-4157199.

Welch, Ashley. “How Meditation Can Improve Your Mental Health | Everyday Health.” Edited by Justin Laube, Stroke Center – EverydayHealth.com, Ziff Davis, LLC, 21 June 2018, www.everydayhealth.com/meditation/how-meditation-can-improve-your-mental-health/.

 

 

 

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