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Mental Moment: Meditation

How meditation can help boost your mental wellness
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MIA CARNEVALE/THE VARSITY
MIA CARNEVALE/THE VARSITY

Toronto is a forward-thinking city, where people are always thinking ahead instead of appreciating the present moment. People in this city walk fast, talk on their phones loudly, and have busy schedules; it can be extremely overwhelming. With the noise and ambition that the city exudes every day, sometimes all we need is quiet.

However, it is possible to slow down in such a busy city without having to physically remove ourselves from its chaos. We can find peace in this vibrant city by taking a moment to calm our minds through meditation.

Meditation is a process where we learn to look inward and notice our thoughts. It creates an instant where we can connect with our bodies and learn to be present. It teaches people to be conscious of the thoughts entering their brain, how their body feels, and how to initiate deep breathing. Practicing meditation includes scanning the body, acknowledging mood, observing breathing patterns and tightness in the body, noticing external noises and surroundings, and being mindful of internal thoughts.

Meditation has many benefits that can be especially helpful for students. Some of the most common emotions that students struggle with regularly — especially at a university as demanding as U of T — are stress and anxiety. Meditation can help with anxiety, mental well-being, stress, self-awareness, and focus.

At times, stress can be debilitating and may lead to anxiety. When there is too much packed into our schedules and our minds, it can be extremely hard to narrow down how we are actually feeling and target where our stress is coming from. Meditation can alleviate stress by giving us space to sort out disorganized thoughts and help us find some clarity.

We can find clarity through meditation by learning to pinpoint feelings and notice how much one emotion may impact our stress levels. Once we acknowledge these emotions, they are easier to manage and control, and stress can start to dissipate.

This process can sound quite intimidating, but it is easier than it seems. Meditation does not need to be hours long and does not require anyone to be an expert. Only 10 minutes of meditation practice every day can have a strong impact on the mind and body — all you need to do is sit down, close your eyes, and let an instructor guide you through breathing patterns and thought processes so you can finally achieve the quiet you have been looking for.