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Meditation relieves student stress

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Sierra Dasher
Staff Writer

While trying to balance school and extracurricular activities, 80 percent of college students find themselves in stressful situations, according to a recent study by the Associated Press.

There are a few techniques that can help students focus and succeed in the present moment.

“We often have random thoughts constantly going through our mind everyday, and our thoughts are typically about the past or the future, not right in the present moment,” Zandra Wagoner, University chaplain, said.

Jocelyn McSpadden, yoga instructor at the Ontario Recreation Department said yoga is a process of combining the body and spirit into one.

“It teaches you to be nonreactive to that stress in (real situations). When life gets crazy, some people feed into that and fall apart,” McSpadden said.

Another effective way to manage stress is through meditation, which calms the body and mind.

“Meditation is about focusing your thoughts,” Wagoner said.

Wagoner coordinates group and individual meditation sessions that are offered from noon-12:30 p.m. every Friday in the Interfaith Chapel.

Wagoner suggests focusing on breathing or an affirming word or phrase. This focus allows thoughts and the body to calm down, instead of focusing about past or future events.

Studies have shown that meditation and yoga have a lot of physical health benefits such as lowering your blood pressure, lowering your breathing rate and helping your blood flow more calmly, Wagoner said.

“It helps me when I’m trying to study or get my schedule in order,” Aika Kitilya, a sophomore kinesiology major, said. “I don’t feel as stressed, and I don’t get stressed as quickly as I used to.”

Meditating calms down any nerves in a stressful situation, Kitilya said.

Just taking a moment to stop and take a deep breath is helpful.

Wagoner stressed the importance of having a calm mind and body when going into stressful situations such as a test or interview because it is proven that the brain performs better when it is in a relaxed state.

“I know college students’ lives are very busy, so even if you just have a minute when you’re feeling very stressful, pay attention to your breath and it will bring you to the present moment and allow you to think more clearly and able to deal with whatever your stress is,” Wagoner said.

Sierra Dasher can be reached at sierra.dasher@laverne.edu.

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