With an open mind, as you lay down, relax your body. Feel the warm, smooth sand run through your feet. Listen to the ocean as its waves grow bigger and wider. As the tide rises, the water gradually creeps up on your toes, then your knees, suddenly you find yourself underwater. Take three deep breaths. In, and out. In, and out. With this last breath, the water will start to slowly dissipate and leave you. Think of the water as all your anxiety, stress, nervousness or anything that troubles you. Breathe in. As you breathe out, let go of all of these emotions with the water. Breathe out. Now open your eyes and look at the view: a sky full of sunshine, a beautiful blue ocean, and a new atmosphere of peace.
After a long day of school, students may go home feeling anxious about how they are performing at school. Whether they are preparing for just another quiz or trying to find a way to pass a class, schools need to help their students cope with all the stress they are under. High schools should require a guided meditation period for every student to help them be more focused throughout the day and be able to feel better about all their anxieties.
Guided meditation is a process in which one or many participants meditate as a group in response to a trained teacher. If schools would shorten all other periods and make space for a meditation class at the beginning of school, students will be able to be more focused throughout the day. Guided meditation helps participants to relax and become more aware of their emotions and be able to understand them without judgment. But one of the major reasons people meditate is to help deal with their anxiety and stress as many metaphors to represent letting go of stress and anxieties are used in meditation. In an article telling why students are stressed out, Amen and Reglin state that, “students experience chronic debilitating stress caused by poverty, family problems, fear of poor performance in school, or feeling unloved” (p. 27, n.d.). However, there are many more reasons why students may feel stress and anxiety.
Apart from the seven hours of school, students need to take time for their homework, studying, family, social life, and other extracurricular activities. With all of this chaos happening at the same time, students do not have enough time for themselves. It is shown that taking time for oneself can help boost confidence, mood, but most importantly, mental health. An article describing the importance of mental health for students explains that “Many estimates show that even though mental illness affects so many of our kids aged 6-17 at least one-half and many estimate as many as 80% of them do not receive the mental health care they need” (ACMH, n.d.). By adding a meditation period at the beginning of school, every day, schools will be providing students with some help in their mental health.
There are many negative effects on students if they do not properly handle their anxieties. Serious health effects include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and more. However mental effects include depression, weariness, and loss of motivation. One of the most common side effects of anxiety is a headache. An article describing the benefits of meditation with a headache states that “Stress is a known trigger for headaches” (Oaklander, p. 1-1, 2014). Further, in the article, it is explained how practicing meditation can shorten a migraine by three hours. However, meditation is not all fun and games.
Even though meditation does help with a lot of different mental and physical issues, there can be serious downsides when it comes to meditation. There are rare cases in which a participant of meditation will experience depersonalization. Depersonalization is a disorder in which one might feel disconnected from oneself and it feels as if they are observing themselves live their own life outside their own bodies. William explains how one might feel going through such experience, “‘depersonalization’ can whip up some difficult emotions that can include feelings of ennui and emptiness, disconnection and even fear” (n.d.). However, only two percent of people suffer from this rare disorder. With the chances of this happening, schools should include the warnings of meditation before beginning the class while still having it be a part of everybody’s schedule.
So many times a day a parent will hear from their child about how stressed they are, or how they do not have time for anything because they are focusing on their homework packets. Students have many reasons to be stressed out: school work, social life, extracurriculars, family and many more. With all of these headaches, students do not have time to relax and be able to focus more on their emotions and lives. Schools should require a guided meditation period at the beginning of school to help students become more focused throughout the day and to help relieve them of some of their anxieties. Not only will this help students relieve stress, but meditation can help improve confidence, mood, body image, and also reduce headaches. By shortening other class periods to make room for this peace period, student’s mental health will be significantly better.