Meditation May Help Students Combat High Levels of Stress, Depression

Meditation May Help Students
Combat High Levels of Stress, Depression When Rob Stephens,
a 22-year-old senior, walks into the Meditation Room
at Carnegie Mellon University, he leaves his homework
and stress at the door. He is surrounded by a
waterfall wall, plants, lots of natural light and
an open space with cushions on the floor — a 24/7 space
is set aside for meditation or just peaceful thinking. “I definitely think it helps
to de-stress,” said Stephens, a global studies major from
Atlanta, Georgia. Meditation is as popular at
colleges nationwide as it is now at CMU. “It’s someone giving themselves
uninterrupted mental space,” said Stephens. “It’s a time to stop
and refocus your purpose.” Studies show the practice may be
an antidote to the high levels of stress and depression
seen on college campuses. The American College Health
Association found in a 2015 study that more than 85 percent
said they “felt overwhelmed” by the demands of college. And a third of all students said
stress had a negative effect on their overall academic performance. Meditation is also part of a
wellness program at Indiana University in Bloomington. In a space at the student union,
the health center offers yoga, aromatherapy, massage
and guided meditation. About 8,000 students a year tap
into the programs, according to Cathleen Hardy Hansen, Indiana’s
director of health and wellness services and an adjunct professor
in its school of public health. At the University of Vermont,
a popular brain science class begins and ends with meditation. Meditation can help regulate
aggression and impulsivity, as well as improve attention
and performance on academic tests. Meditation is weightlifting for the brain. And research backs this up. Meditation training might foster resilience. A 2016 study published in
Biological Psychiatry showed for the first time that meditation
can actually change the brain, even reducing inflammatory disease risk. We know that unemployment is a
massive stressor for folks and we wanted to see if meditation
could manage that said J. David Creswell,
who is an associate professor of psychology and the director of the Health
and Human Performance Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University. The researchers did brain scans
before and after the experience. What they found were changes in
how the resting brain was wired in the meditation group. In those who meditated,
scans showed more connections in the stress regulatory areas
of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that manages
emotions and attention. It suggests how meditation
training might foster resilience. But are those changes permanent? Creswell suggests,
“there is some lasting benefit.” You have this one body and
this one life to live. Less stressful people are
more successful because they lead more fulfilling lives. Visit Awaken Your Kundalini. Meditate on your Life Force. Lead a Stress-free, Fulfilling Life. Be Blessed by the Divine,
Krish Murali Eswar.

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