Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Try meditation to stop summer and school stress

Georgia Lawson, a sophomore majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

Even though summer vacation can sound like beaches and relaxation, you may still be stressed.

When stress becomes a part of your daily routine, it is a barrier to real productivity. It is crucial that we find ways to relieve stress. I find my relief, no matter what time of year, in meditation.

Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar recently conducted a study that presents compelling evidence for the power of meditation. The study found reduced stress levels as well as actual thickening of brain regions essential to learning, memory, mind wandering and regulation. All of these factors show how meditation could help you deal with a stressful situation and experience minimal stress.

As students begin their summer endeavors, I’d urge them to give meditation a try. Meditation got me through finals, and I continue meditating to bring me peace and efficiency during my summer job and online class. Whether you’re taking a heavy course load, working long hours, or simply want to learn to better control your focus for the upcoming semester, meditation can work for you too.

There are many ways to meditate, so find what works for you. For independent, traditional meditation there are even apps that provide music and guidance to get you started (I recommend Headspace).

For those of you who have never practiced meditation, it can seem a little obscure. We may all have that idea of a cross-legged person chanting “ommm,” but meditation is largely internal and often does not look like this.

Meditation is very personal and can be different for everyone. Some people prefer to close their eyes and envision themselves somewhere calming, while others focus on breath. For me, meditation is simply a time to reset my thoughts and intentions. I often do this by sitting in a quiet area like my room and listening to meditation music or an ocean soundtrack for whatever amount of time I feel I need. By focusing on my senses and state of being, I release myself from the constraining feeling of daily responsibilities and train my brain not to wander from the task at hand.

It’s easy to feel like you have no time to take a break, but trading in stress for focus is far more valuable than cramming information you can’t retain. And even if your summer is stress-free, practicing now can give you a helpful tool to utilize during the school year.

Give it a sincere try. Your mind will thank you.

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