No matter what college throws at you, you always have one thing that you can rely on, which can bring you a great sense of internal peace – yourself. With a demanding course load and social obligations it can be easy to forget yourself, and get caught up in a cycle of essays and parties. But existing by the clock qualifies as breathing rather than living, and can be a major cause of stress in any girl’s life. Living involves mindfulness, and being alive requires being present in the moment. Meditation is a means to achieve that end, as it is a practice that allows one to look inward at one’s own light and sense of self. Benefits of meditation are widely recognized across many fields and include anxiety reduction, healthier blood pressure levels, increased concentration, and higher capacity for knowing yourself, among many others. The best part about meditation is that it is a practice, and as your practice grows, you may find yourself growing with it.

1. Get into your zone

Meditation involves a heightened level of concentration, and so being comfortable and in touch with yourself is a crucial way to start your practice. Do a little stretching or yoga beforehand, turn off your phone and external distractions, play some soothing music, light candles, or skip right to making yourself comfortable in a seated position. Setting the scene and making sure you are in your comfort zone is the first step to a great meditation session, and each session is unique.

2. Find a comfortable position, and let go

Whether it’s an upright seated position, sitting in a chair, lying on the floor or on your bed, meditation is an art that can be practiced anywhere. The key is to find a position that makes you the most comfortable, without allowing yourself to drift off to sleep. The more comfortable you are, the less distractions you will encounter as your practice goes on.

Once you have found your golden position, let go of all judgment, and feel yourself in your natural state. Breathing deeply and feeling your breath expand and contract in your lower belly is ideal, and focusing on your breath will help you to let go of any immediate tension. Some meditations, called Mindfulness Meditation, are made up solely of this practice.

3. Listen to yourself

As you settle into your meditation session, thoughts will float in and out. Shutting out those thoughts will only cause you stress and allow them to come in at their own will. Instead, pay attention to what those thoughts are, and once you acknowledge them they will dissipate on their own. Listen to the thoughts your mind has brought to the forefront of your consciousness – do they form a pattern? Do some keep replaying? Do you find yourself getting caught in a cycle of worries, or are there deeper pressing concerns that are begging to come out? Keep breathing, and listen to your mind, recognizing each thought and then letting it fade away.

4. Tune into your internal energy

This is where the magic happens. Because trivial thoughts have been cleared away after step three, you will find yourself stripped of conflicting emotions and idle thoughts, and left with only yourself. Keep breathing deeply and at your own pace, letting your awareness expand with your breath. As you breathe, exchange your energy for fresh energy, which your body will do naturally. As your awareness grows, deep thoughts and images will come and go spontaneously. Try to avoid being analytical during this process, and instead watch what messages your mind and body have for you as they become in sync with one another.

Remember, this is the fun part! Your intuition has taken the wheel, and your only goal is to be perceptive. With practice, you will be able to explore your true self, and reach a blissful state that is clear, calm, and infinite.

5. Bring it back and reflect

When you feel yourself naturally release from your practice, honor it. Bring some movement back into your limbs, stretch, and thank yourself for your practice. If this was your first meditation practice, congratulate yourself! If this was one practice of many, keep congratulating yourself, because self-discovery is a long road but an amazing journey. Take your hands to your heart’s center, and reflect on what you have gained from your time with yourself.

As college girls, chances are we spend a lot of time honoring responsibilities to others and doing things for everyone but ourselves. Taking a few minutes a day, or however long you feel like dedicating, to check in with yourself is part of what college is all about – discovering your true self. Most importantly, enjoy the journey! Many yoga and meditation practices end by saying the word “namaste,” which means, “The light within me honors the light within you.”

What do you think?

Have you ever tried meditation before? What is your favorite way to meditate? Share your techniques and discoveries in the comment section below!

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