Mental health is a growing problem in the world. The World Bank predicts that by 2020, depression will be the disease with the highest global economic burden. There are many causes of depression like genetics, brain chemicals, life situation and stress. Stress- defined as brain’s response to any demand, is one of the many reason in the modern society for having varied mental health problem. Everybody has some kind of stress in his/her life. Short term stress is not harmful, but long-term stress (sometimes called chronic stress) can be perilous for health. College graduate/undergraduate students have various stresses: assignment deadline, internship searching, job search, education cost and many more. All these can affect the health of students and the learning process. However, the School of Public health has provided a resource for students, during fall semester, to handle stress and improve mental health by having meditation classes every Monday. Although I have not gone to any of the meditation Monday classes, I practice meditation at home and have experienced the benefits of the meditation on the body and mind.
Meditation has a powerful effect on calming your mind and changing your perspective. Practicing meditation every day for 15-20 minutes will make a drastic difference in how we approach life, how we think about others, and it enhances empathy and compassion for others. There is an ample amount of scientific evidence available on the positive effects of meditation on brain. There are many different forms of meditation practice available and each technique has a beneficial effect on mind and body.
Furthermore, many meditation techniques involve deep breathing. Deep breathing is a simple process of breathing in and out by using a diaphragm, the horizontal muscle which divides the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity. As we breathe in, oxygen present in the air travels from the lungs to every cell in our body. Oxygen is the fuel necessary for basic metabolism in our cells, so extra deep breaths will increase the oxygen travelling to the cells. By the way, oxygen is the only commodity without price. I have a feeling that in future an airplane might start charging for the amount of air an individual breathes (oxygen surcharge).
Thus, the simple procedure of taking oxygen in and out (deep breathing) along with mindfulness has a multitude salubrious effect on mind and body. Additionally, the procedure is free and no monetary investment needed,the only investment is time. Regular daily practice for 15-20 minutes is crucial to reap the benefits of meditation. Let’s start implementing the popular adage “Prevention is better than cure” to prevent mental health problems by regularly practicing meditation.