College Students Meditating to Lower Stress

Student meditating on grass
Photo by JulieF514

Ask any college student, present or former, about the stress of Higher Education, and you will be met with a unanimous response.  College is stressful.  Even though my college experience is well in my past, I can remember feeling overwhelming stress during the process, to the point that I was experiencing chronic neck and shoulder pain.  It was during this very stressful point in my life that I discovered yoga and meditation to help me deal with the mounting expectations of student life.  Now a study of D.C. college students shows that meditation can go a long way in helping students deal with the stresses of college.

The study shows that meditation can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and curb depression.  Following almost 300 graduate and undergraduate students in the D.C. area, the study used the trademarked Transcendental Meditation technique as the modus operandi.  A portion of the students were taught the technique which uses mantra to focus and relax the mind at the start of the study while the other portion were taught the techniques later on.  The students were reevaluated after three months of independent practice.  Those who were using the meditation technique regularly stated that they felt better, and their risk of hypertension dropped significantly based on findings of the study.

Georgetown, University of Maryland, and George Washington University are only a few of the many Higher Education institutions that are addressing the needs of the students and recognizing the benefits of stress reduction by offering meditation on campuses.

I think it is important to note, that though the study focused on one specific style of meditation (Transcendental Meditation), there are a multitude of techniques that could offer comparable results.  As our understanding of stress and it’s effects on the body and mind grows, the alternative techniques to deal with stress are becoming more and more accepted.  Mindfulness meditation, hatha yoga, and tai chi are only a few of the ways that colleges and universities are providing resources for their students to deal with stress.

As science continues to understand the negative effects of stress on our mental and physical bodies, techniques like meditation and yoga that were once considered fringe are becoming prolifically mainstream.  If we can begin to understand and utilize these techniques before stress becomes an issue, then these tools can be even more valuable.  Rather than simply provide these options for students to choose, what if we added stress reduction classes to the curriculum, and not just in colleges and universities, but as early as high school.  Then students will have the tools to deal with stress and anxiety prior to it building to dangerous levels.

As parents, educators, and practitioners, we can offer our experiences and our knowledge to support this growing body of evidence that alternative methods of stress reduction are highly effective and accessible.
Have you had an experience with using meditation or other forms of healing arts to deal with the stresses of college life?  What do you think about it.

Comments 5

  1. I started yoga in 1992. I used yoga and meditation throughout grad school which I finished in 2003, and through many serious illnesses with my mother. I also take medication for bipolar disorder. Yoga is a very helpful activity to help me manage the stress. I don’t do it daily, but when times get difficult I reach for my yoga mat which usually gives me instant relief. I would never recommend not taking necessary medications, but yoga has been a lifesaver for me. I use to be a problem drinker but have not had a drink since 1996. Thank God for yoga. I would recommend it to anyone. Besides yoga, walking is a good exercise for stress and can be meditative. Namaste!

  2. I took a yoga class in high school my sophomore year and loved every second of it. My stress level lowered and I wasn’t as tense. I stopped taking the class and this semester in my junior year of college I decided to take a yoga class for fun. This semester I have attempted to practice most days of the week and my body hasn’t felt this good in a long time. The stretching and ways yoga works my body helps me feel less tense. Practicing yoga has also lowered my stress level and help me focus more. I would recommend any college student to take it for a PE credit because it is one of the most helpful stress relievers during your college career.

  3. I can comment by experience on this one. I once had high blood pressure and am currently still on medication, more as a formality anymore, and used to suffer from panic attacks and dizzy spells. If it had something to do with depression or stress, I probably had it. I have found, that through my yoga practice, that my practices has helped me locate my triggers and rid them from my life much quicker than before. My meditation has given me the ability to exercise much harder and longer than I have been able to do in a long time, which, in return, has gotten rid of my panic attacks and dizzy spells pretty much altogether. Truthfully, I’m sure that I wouldn’t be in a really healthy place in my life at all if I hadn’t really given yoga a real shot.

  4. Indeed. College is stressfull. I’ve been in to meditation for a while now, and have benefited alot from it, but this yoga thing sounds really interesting. maybe i should try it out…? I could sure use getting a better grip on my stress symptomer and have a better and more ballanced lifestyle.

  5. As a chiropractor of 24 I have practiced different types of yoga and mediation over the years. I practice Network Spinal Analysis (NSA) that opens the nervous system and increase flexibility while releasing stress.
    NSA goes great with yoga and meditation. Currently we hold mindfulness mediation in my office. Anyway this is an interesting article that I hope more people read to learn more about reducing stress with yoga and meditation. I hope you have a peaceful day!
    For more stress relief tips check out Denver Chiropractor

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