Meditation: possible solution to students’ stress

Ellen Drummond, senior in agricultural economics, stretches her hamstring in all levels yoga class in Chester E. Peters Recreation Complex on October 29, 2014. (Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

Mental health is just as important as physical health. When it comes to being stressed, students know better than anyone what pulling an all-nighter or having multiple midterms in a week can do to your mental state. According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, stress potentially develops when students are in high school. If it is not taken care of early, there is a greater chance students will continue to be stressed into their adulthood. Adult and teens in the survey conducted said that the stress levels they reported are far higher than what they perceive to be healthy.

Julie Gibbs, director of health promotion at Lafene Health Center, said in order to respond to stress, students must first identify the cause of their stress. She recommends attending biofeedback workshops at K-State Counseling Services which allow students to improve in the stressful areas of their academic life such as test taking, public speaking and general stress management.

“From that point on, you can determine healthy ways to combat stress, such as meditation, listening to music or exercising,” Gibbs said.

Caroline Toler, senior in family studies, meditates a little differently.

“I spend about thirty minutes each morning reading the Bible and taking time to pray over my day and different things happening in my life,” Toler said.

Toler said she tries to begin and end her day with her Bible.

“Also, randomly throughout the day I will as well, those are usually when I need it most,” she said.

Madison Hoffman, junior in photography and digital arts, is a yoga teacher at Pro Fitness in Aggieville. She teaches gentle flow yoga, which she said is not too strenuous and is easy for people of all ages, fitness level and body types to do.

“Yoga is something that had a huge impact on my life,” Hoffman said. “It most definitely helped me for the better, so my favorite part about my job is being able to share yoga with others.”

For beginners, Hoffman suggests looking up guided meditation videos on YouTube. She also said people can play relaxing music and get seated in a comfortable position.

“The most important part is being able to find a location you can be comfortable in as well as mentally focused,” Hoffman said.

Gibbs said she is not familiar with different types of meditation that students can utilize, but she has found a couple of different studies showing that meditation can be a positive thing.

“One study from the University of Washington showed that meditation can increase productivity and help you focus,” Gibbs said.

Many different things can trigger stress in students. Toler doesn’t have any midterms this semester, but school still stresses her out on occasion.

“When work gets super busy or when I have a huge project or paper due soon and I don’t have time to put into it or when I have a huge event coming up, that builds up my stress,” Toler said.

Toler meditates in different ways, including driving, grabbing a coffee and listening to music.

“Sometimes I’ll take my Bible with me and journal for a little (bit),” Toler said.

Hoffman said school stresses her out as well.

“College is a very busy time of our lives and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel as though our heads are barely above water,” Hoffman said. “Meditation and yoga both are the things that keep me balanced and emotionally healthy.”

Whether it’s school, work or life in general students are bound to get stressed. Don’t let it get to the point where you want to pull your hair out. Meditation is one way to help relieve the inevitable stress that coincides with school.