The importance of meditation

Anant Naik

Yesterday was perhaps the worst day of my semester. Stark deprivation of sleep coupled with anxiety over midterms was not a good combination for me, or for anyone else.

It’s easy to forget with all that’s happening in the academic realm, with extracurricular activities and with family and friends, that I am a human being, and my brain cannot continue to operate at an incredibly stressful level.

I began meditating as a child, growing up in a family that emphasized its important spiritual benefits. The psychological associations I made with meditation as a child are still with me today. As a consequence, when I sat still for a few minutes, I felt a rush of calmness through my body. My racing heart stopped as I closed my eyes and focused ahead into the void.

People often associate meditation with religion. And while it may have started as a facet of many faiths, its expansion to the medical community has already seen various impacts.

Today, meditation is taught to children, adults with chronic illnesses and even delinquents. Many studies have corroborated findings that meditation improves mental performance, focus, concentration and neural plasticity.

It was surprising how just a few minutes in my day could change my outlook on life. I once thought that the time I didn’t spend studying was wasted. But this misconception was part of my problem.

By slowing down and resetting, I’m able to refocus on my tasks with a reduced sense of stress and anxiety. Calm, deep breaths — and now back to studying.