Living through meditation is essential to mental health

Living through meditation is essential to mental health

Living through meditation is essential to mental health
May 31
12:49 2017

by Garron Weeks

Growing up as a teenager in the 21st century, I felt constantly under pressure to have an image and social status. As I made mistakes and ran through a gamut of imperfections, these worries would keep me up at night. I’d toss and turn in bed thinking about every little detail of my life and would do anything to distract myself from that feeling of anxiety. My mistakes and imperfections piled on top of each other through the years and as a result, my anxiety and depression led me to hit rock bottom. But it wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I saw the world in a different light.

Growing up through grade school feels like an eternity, as if the boring classes, bullies and social anxieties would never end. Because as kids, that’s all we knew. Once I graduated high school, I felt liberated. But my demons would later return, as I continued to dwell within my thoughts.

I tried enrolling in therapy to talk about my problems, but I still dwelled on them. I tried prescription pills, but they would numb my emotions, cloud my head or make me groggy. I tried connecting more with religion, but still felt my anxieties controlling me. But it wasn’t until I began researching on the internet how to better my mind that I came across meditation.

Meditation seems intimidating at first because of the way that our brains have been developed to operate. With our cell phones, we have the world at our fingertips. With clocks, we live by times and schedules.

Meditation, however, is where one relaxes and becomes in the present moment. I had always grown up with this weird perception that meditation was only something monks did and seemed like a waste of time in such a short life. Yet, the technique of meditation is simple and straightforward. But it is our own expectations and judgments that make the practice complicated.

The easiest way to get into a state of meditation is to listen to the world around you and focus on your breath. Listen to the hum and buzz of the world, and your breath going in and out. It’s easy to forget that breathing is natural and it just happens to us. We don’t need to focus on it, but once we do, it seems unfamiliar and very much in the present. Once one enters the meditative state, sensations of relaxation and clarity will come upon the person.

However, negative thoughts may creep back into the head. As contemporary philosopher Alan Watts once said, “It’s important that you don’t try to repress those thoughts by forcing them out of your mind. Because that will have precisely the same effect as if you were trying to smooth rough water with a flat iron.” The brain will create thoughts regardless, since it is a reflexive organ towards its environment and experiences.

I believe that it’s essential for human beings – especially college students – to understand the importance of living in a meditative state, as it allows you to let go of the worldly desires and anxieties. You do not have to sit cross legged in a field to meditate. One can come into this state at any time by just focusing on the breath in the present moment.

Beginning to practice meditation can seem very foreign, but fortunately in Denton, there are many places offering guided sessions in meditation and yoga. For myself, I studied for many months before I really grasped the practice. Thanks to meditation practice, I am finally at peace with myself.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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