The beginning of the academic year is good time to talk about wellness and well-being.
As you embark on the journey of a new academic year, it’s essential to pay attention to the many emotions you will feel along the way. Take a moment to reflect on how your emotions can have an impact on what you do. What happens to your attention in class when you are tired? What happens to your performance on a test when you have heightened anxiety? What happens to your relationships when you are frustrated? Learning about your emotions is an essential aspect of success and well-being. After understanding your emotions, it’s important to learn how to reinforce the positive emotions while managing and reducing the negative emotions.
BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO REDUCING STRESS AND BEING IN THE PRESENT.
1. GET COMFORTABLE
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Ideally this would be a room in your house where you can be alone and at peace.
2. GET IN POSITION
You might try sitting cross-legged on a low cushion on the floor, or upright in a chair. Some people prefer to meditate lying down.
3. GET RELAXED
Close your eyes, set a timer for five minutes if you are just starting out, and begin by taking a few deep, cleansing breaths. Breath in deeply (but naturally) through your nose, and out through either your nose or mouth—whichever feels more comfortable to you. Let the breaths flow all the way down into your abdomen.
4. FOCUS ON YOUR BREATHS
Become aware of the sound of your breaths as you inhale and exhale. As you inhale, you breathe in all the peaceful and joyful things around you. As you exhale, you rid your mind and body of all the stress and toxins that have been bothering you. Let your mind become mesmerized by the rhythmic pattern of your breathing.
5. BRING YOUR THOUGHTS BACK TO CENTER
Your mind will wander. When you notice your thoughts wandering off from your breath, don’t chastise yourself—it’s totally normal. Simply acknowledge it and bring your focus back to the center, back to your breaths. Take in your immediate surroundings. What do you hear? What do you feel right now, at this moment? Try not to ruminate on the past or worry about the future, but be present in this pure moment.
6. MAKE A COMMITMENT
Like exercise, meditation takes practice. And the more we practice, the better we get and the stronger that mindfulness muscle becomes. Even just five to ten minutes per day has been shown to make an enormous difference to well-being after just eight weeks of meditation practice.
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