Meditation reduces busy high school stress, improves test scores

Keeping yourself sane in a world full of stress, finals and college applications can be grueling. More and more often, students have been turning to meditation as a stress-reliever in the fast paced high school life.

Meditation can mean many different things to various people. It can be used as a form of spirituality, praying to God or Buddha; it can be used simply as a way to quiet the mind and center the soul. By concentrating on the thoughts in the mind, it creates a more alert reality. Starting meditation can seem daunting, but iTunes’ app store has a variety of guided meditation podcasts, making the jump for first-time meditators easier. According to the Transcendental Meditation Program started by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, silently repeating a mantra for 20 minutes a day boasts many benefits, like increased creativity, productivity, tolerance and memory. It also reduces blood pressure, anxiety and unnecessary medical care.

Meditation can hold a special place in the hearts of students. Supporters say that meditation reduces violent tendencies, distractions and stress. A study from the Medical College of Georgia found that students that meditated twice a day for 15 minutes had significantly lower blood pressure than students that took physical education classes.

Iowa is well known for its meditation oasis: the Transcendental Meditation Program in Fairfield. The program has a large following from communities and celebrities alike. Film director David Lynch has shone a spotlight on the meditation technique by starting the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. His organization provides funding for underprivileged students around the world to learn meditation techniques. Celebrities like Katy Perry, Oprah Winfrey, Russell Simmons and Clint Eastwood have been involved in the meditation program. In 2009, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performed at a benefit at Radio City Music Hall in NYC to raise money for one million low-income school children to learn meditation techniques.
Besides the program, Fairfield is also the home of the Maharishi School, a preschool through 12th grade teaching consciousness-based education. Their practice of transcendental meditation has helped the private school perform in the top one percent in the nation on standardized tests, an impressive feat. Schools across the country that have implemented meditation programs have seen students achieve higher test scores, have less violent tendencies and better overall well being.

Misconceptions have prevented some from embarking on the adventure of meditation. The spirtuality of meditation depends on the person practicing — it doesn’t have to be religious. It is not important whether it is practiced sitting up or lying down, whichever is more comfortable. The focus is on the mind. It is often thought that meditation is used to quiet the mind, a tough task to accomplish. Actually, meditation can be simple as desired, an inner reflection that encourages alertness. By engrossing yourself in your thoughts, a high state of concentration is achieved, creating a more aware and accepting reality.

Class of 2014

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