Do you want to boost your grades simply by unwinding? Not just boost your grades, but make yourself a kinder, more forgiving—and smarter—person? If so, meditate during study breaks. Reporting on research done at MIT, author Donovan Alexander states that “there was an obvious correlation between mindfulness in schools and better overall academic performance, better behavior, and less stress.” And meditation and mindfulness are often married.
Mindfulness meditation involves noticing your bodily sensations, thoughts, and feelings as a detached observer. But there are other types of meditation, too, each with plenty of benefits.
So, what can meditation do for student life? According to author Lucy Loveman, meditation does the following and much more:
“improves your attention and focus” (14%),
“increases your ability to learn and remember” (14%),
“unlocks your creativity” (15%),
“contributes to better relationships” (15%),
“helps put things in perspective” (15%),
“reduces anxiety (and phobias)” (16%),
“helps you to stop worrying” (16%), and
“reduces aggression” (16%).
I love to do something called the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique followed by holding my breath for as long as possible, ending off with the Skull Shining Breath Technique. I then repeat. All the while, I do a variation of the Love and Forgiveness Meditation. These meditation techniques are explained below:
To start, my favorite meditation technique is called Alternate Nostril Breathing. It draws in and expels out strong and deep breaths through alternate sides of the nose. Loveman says we naturally breathe through one nostril at a time, but if we breathe mostly through one side, we tend to use more of just one side of the brain. We need balance.
So, to try the “alternate Nostril Breathing Technique … close your mouth and put your fingers on your nose, pinching off your right nostril. Now breathe in deeply and slowly through your left nostril, then exhale slowly through your nostril. Do this four or five times in a row. Now switch sides. This time pinch off your left nostril to obstruct the passage of air. Now breathe deeply and slowly through your right nostril. Again, do this four or five times in a row” (66%).
I do a variation of the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique where I breathe in through the right nostril, plug both nostrils for as long as I can, and then breathe out through the left nostril, and then reverse. I do this for ten full cycles. After that, I breathe out and hold my breath for as long as possible—aiming to hold my breath for a minute. I then finish up with a Skull Shining Breath Technique to release toxins (Loveman, 2013).
To try the “Skull Shining Breath Technique … get into a position that is comfortable and allows you to breathe deeply and easily. Take a nice, deep (yet passive) inhalation. Then expel this breath out forcefully. Keep repeating the passive inhalation followed by the forceful exhalation for about five or six breaths” (67%).
I like to repeat this cycle of meditation techniques for 10-, 20-, 30-, or 60-minute sessions. If I do at least twenty minutes a day, I feel I’ve achieved my daily meditation goal.
I view the combination of the above meditation techniques as a variation of the famous Wim Hof Method. So, I try to follow up my meditation sessions with a cold shower just like Wim Hof would do.
But unlike Wim Hof, I enjoy listening to a spiritual video while I meditate—a video that talks about love as life’s purpose. As I meditate to the video, I feel love for God and all my family and friends. You might not be religious. If not, just feel sincere love for any being you choose. This form of meditation is one of many variations of the Love and Kindness Meditation.
To try the “Love and Forgiveness Meditation… imagine your heart opening like a large, blossoming flower. Let your love and compassion swirl all around you. Imagine that it is mixing with all the compassionate, loving and forgiving energy in the Universe” (85%).
“When you feel full of love, then imagine the person you want to forgive (or the one you hurt who you want to apologize for). See the loving energy swirling around this person…. If you feel hurt by something this person did, tell him you forgive him. Then acknowledge the pain and hurt you may have caused, and in turn ask for forgiveness. Then focus on wrapping both of you in the loving, forgiving energy that’s swirling around you” (85%).
Don’t worry whether the person loves you or not. You can feel love for anyone, regardless of how they feel about you. And giving love feels magnificent. Savor the love.
So, meditation will not only make you smarter and sweeter, it’ll surely make you wiser.