Relax your body, brain, and soul

Story by Cesar Cadenas Staff Writer

Like all college students, I go through a lot of stress. I had struggled to deal with my stress for a while until I discovered meditation. At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, meditation changed the way I deal with stress, and it’s something that I recommend. 

Meditation has been proven to minimize anxiety and depression. According to a study from Behavior Research and Therapy, meditation aids in focusing the brain, preventing it from wandering and conjuring negative thoughts. Some may look down on meditation as merely sitting down with closed eyes, but that kind of concentration does wonders to the brain. 

Meditating is really simple. There are a variety of sitting poses you can do, but there is one pose a beginner can do with no problem. The signature pose is sitting with legs crossed, close to your body. Hands can be held in a variety of ways: index or middle finger touching the thumb, interlace your hands together (which is what I do), or put your fingers on top of one another with your thumbs forming a bridge. Look at the pictures around if you’re still confused on hand posture. Your back must be completely straight; you can’t slouch. And eyes must be closed. Remember, it’s all about staying in the here-and-now, and making an effort to focus. 

The next step to great meditating is proper breathing. When meditating, you’ll have to start with deep breathing. Inhale and fill the lungs. Inhale until your stomach concaves and your chest sticks from full lungs. Exhale and relax your stomach. But, don’t continue breathing deeply when meditating unless that’s the way you normally breathe. Deep breathing will distract you from meditating because it requires more effort. You’ll want to ease yourself into a state where you breathe unconsciously, where you don’t notice that you’re breathing. Imagine true meditating breathing as when you breathe in a everyday scenario, like walking to class. You’re breathing, but you’re not paying attention when you do. As you meditate, you’ll reach that state.

Inevitably, as you meditate and reach that calm state, you’ll start to think all sorts of thoughts. They’ll be positive thoughts, negative thoughts, or simply thoughts. You’re mind will start to race, but that’s fine. Focus on your breathing. Imagine yourself as a mountain and thoughts as clouds. Clouds do nothing to mountains, and neither will thoughts. Practice being still and focus. Eventually, you’ll reach a calm state. Meditate for 10 minutes every day for a month. See the improvement.  


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