With the rising heat of summer, exam fever is also here, making the days longer and more stressful. Students of all ages are having a difficult time managing the stress that is upon them. This stress bothers them in the form of headaches, fever, aches, digestive problems, loose stool or constipation, tiredness, difficulty in concentration, difficulty remembering, lack of sleep etc. Some parents may argue that this fear or anticipation fuels their efforts and yield better results, but it is not so. Increased anxiety and stress may lead to many physical and mental health issues in children.
The child may be stressed because of a lack of confidence, inability to concentrate, inability to recall what has been learnt or due to parental pressure. All these problems can be solved by a proper sharpening of the mental faculties of the child which can be achieved by meditation. (Also read: Exam stress? Try these calming practices for a clearer mind )
Talking to HT Lifestyle, Dr Lakshmi Varma K, Consultant and Advisor at LYEF Wellness, says, "We know that our interactions with the outside world are through our sense organs. The objects of senses light, sound, touch, smell and taste are the source of our stimuli. Meditation is the process of detaching our mind from these objects and helping us focus on a single point. When the mind is focused; it calms down, can deal with pressure better, has better concentration, can retain information better and remembers things better. Thus, stress is relieved and so are the physical and mental ailments caused by it. Meditation is not something that only sages or yogis do even a small child can do meditation by simply observing their breathing."
Talking about the best way to practice meditation, Dr Lakshmi revealed, "The easiest way to meditate is by closing one’s eyes and observing ones breathing without allowing any other thoughts to come to your mind. It may be hard in the beginning to keep your mind clear, but it can be achieved by trying it repeatedly. The technique of harnessing the power of the mind has been used since ancient times by yogis to improve their mental capacity, but it is only because of its high efficiency that this has still been in practice. Meditation can be done as short sessions in between studying and also as a total relaxation technique just before sleep. This helps the brain to refocus and rest respectively."
"To better understand your mental space, you need to understand the difference between stress and anxiety. Stress is feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. When we feel stressed, our body produces stress hormones that trigger the flight or fight response. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Often, repeated stress leads to anxiety. Since we cannot avoid stress altogether, we need a powerful, effective tool to help manage both. Meditation helps with both stress and anxiety," says, Raman Mittal, meditation enthusiast and co-founder of Idanim.
He further shared with HT Lifestyle, the 3 best meditation practices for managing stress and anxiety for students who are starting out their meditation journey:
● Mantra Meditation: This meditation can become effortless through practice and helps instil gratitude and self-love. When you repeatedly chant a mantra, your subconscious mind starts believing it. It helps boost focus and unlock immense psychological potential for better concentration in students. Start with 10 minutes and increase it to 20 minutes twice a day, and you will find yourself calmer and more resilient to peer pressure as well as social and exam pressures.
● Breath Meditation: Breathing meditation is one of the simplest and most uncomplicated meditation techniques. This balances the flow of Prana through the body and rejuvenates the brain cells. The use of the breath is central to this meditation, as it emphasizes breath awareness. Being intentionally aware of the constant flow of oxygen in and release of carbon dioxide out of the body helps reduce stress and irritability and improves the clarity of thought in young minds.
● Visualization Meditation: A visualization is a popular tool in meditation. It involves using imagination to experience a desired feeling, such as peacefulness, confidence, or motivation. Visualization can also help reduce feelings of nervousness. By enhancing your relaxation skills with visualization, you can lower your flight-or-fight response, which is often triggered during times of increased anxiety. In such situations, when you visualize that you are watching the waves or the sky and the stars while focusing on your breath, you induce deep calm and relaxation.
"According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 19 percent of the population has an anxiety disorder, including students and youngsters. And I believe that this number is grossly under-reported. If you are dealing with stress and anxiety at school, college, or even home, guided meditations are a good place to start your meditation journey. Meditations can help you achieve mindfulness and relaxation by reducing the effects of stress, anxiety, and other psychological disorders on your mind," concludes Raman Mittal.