Is meditation the key to life?


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Rocks balancing.

Namaste! When was the last time you felt in touch with yourself and the world around you?

Recently at Ada High School, students have been learning to take a break and unwind. Alison Rackley, biology teacher, has been assisting in this effort by providing a 10 minute time period every Friday to help students with relaxation.

Instead of continuing with the usual work, students are allowed a small amount of time to follow along with a guided meditation exercise. This is meant to de-stress and simplify their minds and have a positive effect on their mental health, but what does this really mean? Meditation is known as the act of relaxing or spending time thinking, and is highly popular for helping people deal with busy lifestyles or personal afflictions and stress.

Meditation is a very old practice; Psychology Today says that that there have been traces of meditation found that date all the way back to 5,000-3,500 BCE. As time goes on, many different forms and adaptations of meditation have been created. Through all of these changes, one central theme remains the same; meditation is good for your health.

Taking time out of your day to clear your mind has been scientifically proven to boost your immune system, relieve anxiety, ease chronic pain, and much more. There have been multiple studies to show the medical and emotional benefits of mediation, from curing illnesses to general mood improvement and happiness. These advances are especially beneficial to one group of people, teenagers.

During the teen years, there is a lot of change and movement happening in students’ lives. They’re focusing on schoolwork, extra curricular activities, their future, family, significant others, work, all while trying to figure out themselves and find their place in the world. When you add together all of these decisions and responsibilities, it’s quite a lot for one person to handle. This leads to the chaos of not handling things the way you should.

Any normal human being would crack under stress this immense, which is why it’s not out of the ordinary for these kids to develop mental health issues and turn to other negative coping methods such as drugs or violence. Instead of turning to these vices, students could reverse the destructive process altogether by actively participating in a more relaxed lifestyle.

A study at the University of Vienna showed that 97% of drug abusers stopped using drugs after beginning meditation practice. This shows that meditation could be an easy and effective way to prevent drug abuse and other bad habits.

The idea of developing favorable coping mechanisms is one of the things that prompted Rackley to begin the meditation period at Ada High.

“I think meditation is good because a lot of our students don’t have very good stress coping mechanisms, and so if I can help you guys learn ways to deal with your stress than I think it’s a worthwhile activity,” Rackley said.

There are many ways to start practicing meditation in your own life, whether it be an old fashioned routine or a guided recording. One great resource to use for beginning your journey to find peace is your cell phone. There are many free apps and websites available that contain programs and tips on how to get started. Many of these applications contain relaxing noises or music and a scheduled meditation planner.

If you ask a student how they feel about the new tradition in Rackley’s room, chances are they will say that they’re thankful for the break from work, but they just use the time to nap.

“I just feel like it’s basically a waste of class time because we just lay there and it doesn’t really help any,” said Kaile Frazier, sophomore.

Though these kids think they are taking advantage of the opportunity, there is really no way of avoiding the fact that they are learning to meditate and relax. When you remove all of the distractions and noises from a room, the brain can’t help but slow down and and calm you.

Alison Rackley watches the program guide her students as they learn to meditate.

There are many reasons to start mediating, whether it be because you are required to in class or you genuinely want to see the effects it can have on your life and well being. You may use the practice as a de-stresser or for your physical health and happiness; whatever your reasoning is, there’s nothing to lose by giving it a try… nothing to lose except maybe your stress.