Exams and assessments are never going to be calming activities but through the use of mediation you can make them far less stressful.
Up until two weeks ago, if you had asked me to sit down, close my eyes and effortlessly meditate for 15 minutes, I would have told you I don’t have the time. Especially with end-of-year exams and assessment deadlines fast approaching. Then my best friend introduced me to the 1 Giant Mind meditation app and my thinking began to change.
After months of hearing all about my friends “life-changing” experiences with meditation, I finally caved and agreed to give it a go. Having no idea what to expect, I sat there and listened to the instructions given by Jonni Pollard, the co-founder and creator of 1 Giant Mind, and its ‘Learn to Meditate’ program.
Fifteen minutes passed by in what seemed like a second, and I was truly amazed by the experience I had just had. It was not until after the meditation session that I realised my mind had previously been racing at 100 miles an hour. Yet now I felt calm and relaxed. Feeling light and as though every stressful situation could no longer effect me in a negative way, I downloaded the app and began their 12 step course.
Even though there were a few days where I forgot, by session six I was already noticing the difference in my moods, energy levels, and overall wellbeing. My high-stress levels due to college drastically lowered and my thinking became a lot clearer, enabling me to better deal with assessments and deadlines.
1 Giant Mind told The Newsroom that meditation can be defined as: “any mental process that induces a set of integrated psychophysiological changes termed as the relaxation response. The relaxation response is defined as a protective mechanism against stress that brings about decreased heart rate, lower metabolism, decreased respiratory rate and increased mental clarity and focus.”
Laura Poole, program developer at 1 Giant Mind, recommends meditation for students as a way of ensuring that you are functioning at your absolute best.
“You want to be clear-headed, focused, creative and able to absorb and integrate all that you are learning,” she said. “Meditation gives you the ability to access your highest capabilities in each moment [and] it also helps you recover from the impact of daily stress.”
The free app guides you through every step and makes learning to meditate a breeze. The app features FAQ videos, a journal to record your experience in each session and a set a reminder tool to make sure you don’t miss a day. Upon completing the 12-step course, the 30-day challenge feature will be unlocked. This aims to help you develop a daily habit through the use of repetition.
At a time when everyone has their phone on them 24/7, not knowing where to begin your meditation journey is no longer an excuse and neither is not having the time. When you consider the number of benefits meditation has, taking 15 minutes out of your day really is not that much at all.
“When it comes to not having time to meditate, this is where priority needs to kick in. We need to move out of our reactionary approach to life and into a more prospective way of living. This means prioritising your mind and your own health and wellbeing,” said Ms Poole.
In order to further enhance and develop your meditation skills in a face-to-face environment, Ms Poole recommends seeking out a qualified teacher.
John Barter, a Buddhist psychologist and Mindfulness meditation teacher, also recommends meditation for students as a way of reducing stress. “For students and professionals alike, where stress can affect mental clarity and performance, the practice of meditation can both reduce stress and inhibit stress from occurring.”
Mr Barter teaches one-on-one meditation sessions as well as classes, courses, workshops and retreats. – Erin Kenneally
Top photo by Ben Atkinson-James.