In our fast-paced society, it’s hard to find any time to yourself, let alone quiet time to meditate. The list of meditation benefits goes on and on, but these are the most important and obvious reasons to meditate.
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City Harvest collects almost 115,000 pounds of surplus food every day from restaurants, grocers, wholesalers, and farmers to distribute to 600 community food programs in New York City. Mindfulness meditation is a practice that goes back thousands of years, and has been taught through many philosophical and religious traditions, especially those of the Far East.
For many years I dabbled in and out of meditation, never committing to a regular practice, because it’s difficult to do like anything when starting out.
Mindfulness mediation is simply the practice of letting go of your thoughts, feelings and sensations without judging them as positive or negative. It’s a practicing that somehow seems to access purer states of being, stillness and peaceful in my experience.
Even modern cognitive psychotherapies like Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy use meditative exercises as a foundation for training people to dislodge from their thoughts and feelings causing unwanted psychological disturbances in their lives.
Scientists like Sara Lazar of the Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program have been studying this using MRI of a control group of non-meditators and a group of meditators using techniques from an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program.
All of those that participated in the mindfulness meditation group reported significant improvements compared to their responses before the 8-week group began. Additionally, MR images were taken of each participants brain showing increases in density of the hippocampus (increased memory and learning), reduction in the amygdala’s mass (fight or flight, fear response) and other brain structures related to self-awareness and compassion changes that were seen in meditators.
The control group of non-meditators showed none of these changes at all; a fairly clear indicator that there were significant improvements with the meditators in comparison to the non-meditators.
When I practice mindfulness meditation regularly, I consistently experience higher levels of well-being, clarity of mind and relaxation in my body.
It recenters me, gets me grounded to where any thoughts that I’m fusing with or are getting in the way, float by and allow me to do what I want to get done, with far less procrastination and resistance. When practicing, I’ve found out that the key is to truly do the best that you can in catching thoughts, feelings and body sensations, and noticing them without judgment, without furthering any type of story about these thoughts, the world, or yourself and letting them go. Not attempting to get to a certain state or control my thoughts when doing meditation became much easier, mind cleansing and stress and anxiety seem to dissipate far more than if I didn’t meditate.
When I was in college I was a member of a few Student Association groups on campus, as well as being a member of a pagan group that met at the Universal Unitarian Church off-campus. One of the SA groups I was a member of was called “Mind Your Mind.” It was a meditation group.
During a “street fair” type of party on campus, we had a sign outside of the Student Activities building that said, “Free Guided Meditation Inside!” Each member of the group switched off in guiding anyone that was interested in learning the benefits of meditation, how to meditate, and then if the participant was willing, talking them through a guided meditation.
I’ve never been a missionary, but to me it felt like we were meditation missionaries: spreading the Good Word of meditation! There have been quite a few years that have passed between the completion of my time in college and me resuming meditation practices, albeit this time different practices and individually. Have you ever heard of people saying “Don’t look down” when dealing with someone that is afraid of heights?

When you realize that you have followed your thoughts down the rabbit hole or tangent, this is when it is excellent to have something to anchor your practice, to bring yourself back to the real act of meditation. Having something to anchor your practice not only helps get you back on track when your mind starts to wander, but also when you have physical distractions (such as an itch or pain in your body) or audio distractions (like your partner walking through the room with elephantine-like footfalls!).
Physical reminders, such as a timer, mala beads, meditation cushion, music, a dedicated area in your home (even if it’s just a corner or your kitchen table), a specific incense or candle you burn… physical cues will align you mentally with your meditation, and make you more likely to do it. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends using the handy-dandy buttons below. Most of us think that every moment of our free time should be occupied with something productive, but the constant stress on our brains can be detrimental to our mental health and, ironically, our level of productivity.
Reduced Stress: Whether it’s 15 minutes or 60 minutes, turning off the world around you for that time and focusing only on meditation in that present moment will lower your stress and anxiety levels tremendously.
Improved Physical Health: Studies have shown that people who meditate have a lower chance of developing heart disease and other health issues.
Taking Control of your Thoughts: With such busy lives, it’s natural that we let our thoughts get out of control, but through meditation, you will be able to get your feelings and ideas in order.
More Concentration: As you continue to meditate, you will find that your ability to concentrate on almost anything has increased.
Increased Self-Awreness: Being alone with nothing but your thoughts can make you learn a lot about yourself. More Positive Thoughts: This is not to say that you are not allowed to have negative thoughts. Before you think of meditation as a spiritual practice that’s only done by yogis, remember all of these amazing benefits it can bring. She is a junior studying Dietetics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick and an absolute gym rat. But anyone who regularly practices meditation will already know this via their experience of practice. I am happy to say that I’m no longer a “meditation missionary”; I’m a firm believer in doing what works for you. Tell yourself that your meditation practice for that day (and any day) may not look the way you want it to in a perfect world, but however it looks it will give you exactly what you need. It is not dissimilar to having an exercise regime or psyching yourself up to go to the gym. The card I think of when I think of the practice of meditation is the Queen of Pentacles: The association with the element of earth and the practice of meditation is a grounding one, another Q of P association. The deep breaths and the clearing of your mind will increase oxygen concentration and lower your body’s cortisol levels, a stress inducing hormone. This is connected to the lower levels of stress that meditation brings, since stress has been known to cause heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses. Life is full of little annoyances from stop-and-go traffic to slow waiters, but imagine living a life where you become detached from these irritating events rather than letting them bother you. Meditation requires concentration and, although it may be a struggle at first to sit still and quiet for a period of time, it will become easier and easier to focus your energy and thoughts on one thing. Meditation can help you connect with your true self and discover what you really want in life.

When she’s not training for races, she likes to catch up on the latest health trends, read, hang out with friends and family, draw, and write in her blogs.
To stay tuned to more articles for classy co-eds be sure to follow College Lifestyles on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I can’t tell you if meditation will work for you, or what type: all I know is that it works for me, especially in the morning right after I wake up and before I do anything else. An anchor can be focusing on your breath (you can do this by counting inhalation, holds, and exhalation, or breathing in a certain way, inhale through nose, out through mouth, etc.), working mala beads, reciting a mantra internally, or staring into a candle flame. Once those exercise clothes are on and your sneakers are tied, aren’t you more likely to go? If the Queen of Pentacles doesn’t work for you, please feel free to choose another tarot card that is more to your liking. Adjust your practice through the filter of your answer to that question, whether that looks like changing the type of meditation or the length of time. Feel free to Comment below and share your thoughts and questions on the subject of meditation! Well, after meditating regularly you will find that life is full of these inevitable annoying instances and you will deal with them with little to no irritable feelings. Many people take the time to meditate when they are feeling lost or empty for this very reason. It may actually bring these harmful thoughts or feelings to the surface, so that you can conquer them and live in a life of truth and reality. The only thing that has to be kept in mind is that first steps towards meditation should be taken with somebody who already is familiar with that relaxation technique. If you have a tarot practice, you may find meditating on a card that you have been having trouble with may provide a breakthrough that otherwise was eluding you!
The reflection and inner peace of meditation can be extremely beneficial to our mind and body. Meditation brings you closer to yourself and this can in turn boost your self-confidence because you will learn to accept yourself for who you are.
It isn’t about emptying your mind, because the moment we are told to do that, that’s when the thoughts and to-do lists come rolling into our heads.
Meditation isn’t the time for mentally notating all the to-dos (especially the ones that you probably should be doing INSTEAD OF meditating!). My meditation is a mere 10 minutes a day in the morning, and that 10 minutes gives me all I need.
You can meditate while doing yoga, you can simply dedicate 15 minutes a day to repeating your own affirmations, and you can even meditate while running!
At first, it may seem a little silly, but stick with it for a couple weeks and you will you will notice an improvement in your mental health.

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