What many people think of when they hear the word meditation is sitting down criss-cross applesauce and being completely still and silent, but this is not the only form of meditation. General things like academic pressures, negative media content, family disruptions or parental stress can make a student feel as if the weight of the world is on their shoulders. Meditation can result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being which ultimately means that it is a stress reliever or mood enhancer. 

    There are a variety of ways to meditate. Meditation is an option while lying down, or even sitting in a chair, it all depends on what feels the most comfortable. Another misconception is that you have to meditate for longer periods of time, this is also not necessarily true. Meditation is something that can take as little as five minutes of your day. When I first started to meditate, it only lasted five minutes each day, and now I have progressed to at least 20 minutes. 

    Many people may believe that there is not enough time in their day to meditate, or that meditation will just make them fall asleep but if done correctly, this assumption is incorrect. The stress that a student may take on every day will only linger to a certain extent, meditation can help by reducing stress levels and alleviating anxiety. Not only during the time that you spend meditating but after you do it you will become more stress-resilient in the long-run as well. 

    Although there are countless benefits that come from meditating, I personally have experienced three advantages. Stress reduction, increase in mindfulness and attentiveness, as well as an improvement in happiness. This is beneficial because it improves both the mind and the body.

    The benefit is stress reduction. I am a typical high school student that has to deal with parents, after-school activities and homework. The most important trait covered under the benefits of meditation is that it improves your focus. The website for the American Psychological Association says that students who practice meditation are more focused on task performances than those who do not meditate. Dealing with life's challenges-from personal obstacles to issues worldwide- is not easy, but allowing it to add extra stress is easy. That is where meditation comes in. When you meditate, serotonin is released. Serotonin is one of the few neurotransmitters that have a calming effect on your body, by easing tension. Zenhabits, a blog created by Leo Babauta, a blogger, journalist and author, states, “Just a few minutes of meditation is an oasis of calm and relaxation that is rarely found in our lives these days.” When I first started meditation as an eighth-grader, I did not take it seriously and it was not very consistent. Over time, I went from just five minutes out of my day to 10 to 25, and this has made me a more focused and observant individual. 

    The second benefit of meditating is increasing mindfulness and attentiveness. Multitasking leads to increased distractibility and memory issues, but it is also an easy way to lose focus on one thing which leads you to attempt to complete another. According to mindful.org, those who meditate tend to have a more positive reaction to stressful situations than those that do not. Lastly, meditation improves your happiness. Serotonin and endorphins are increased when you meditate, and these two chemicals are neurotransmitters which are chemical messengers that can excite or inhibit neurons which are nerve cells. So in short, meditation can potentially increase your capacity for happiness and reduce your propensity towards negativity.

     The list of benefits from meditating is endless. Stress reduction, increased happiness, mindfulness and attentiveness are some of the main factors that meditation can expose people to and because of this, hopefully sooner or later, you decide to practice meditation on your own. Remember that meditation is done independently, and it will only be beneficial to you if you actually have an internal desire for it. So, start somewhere small and progress into something that can be tremendous.