How meditation keeps me sane


Cedric Chan

During quarantine, senior writer Elli Lahdesmaki has discovered the benefits of meditation to help deal with stress.

I was sitting in my room at 10:58 p.m. on a Thursday night, my hands shaking from caffeine and my eyes twitching from the lack of sleep. Staring at my AP Biology assignment that I had made very little progress on, I tried to ignore the thousand tabs of other assignments I had to complete by the next day. I was tired, extremely stressed out and I couldn’t even remember the last time I had stepped outside for fresh air. 

This was me, before the COVID-19 quarantine. Before I found a magical solution: meditation.  

For the longest time, I thought stress and procrastination were unavoidable in high school. I wasn’t allowing my body to rest, eat and think properly, but I thought this was the norm. I’ve since realized that this is a completely skewed way of thinking. 

Quarantine gave me more time to experiment with methods of stress relief. I was sick of feeling drained all the time, so I tried running, baking, painting — the list goes on. While these all worked, they relieved my stress only for the period of time that I was actually doing the activity.

I’ve always been aware of meditation, but it has also always been something that I’ve immediately shrugged off. Sitting down and breathing just seemed like a waste of time. I remember sitting in my freshman English class, waiting for the dreadful five minutes of meditation to be over. This is a completely understandable initial take on meditation, but it comes from a lack of understanding of what meditation really means. 

After being enlightened by a podcast on meditation that came on my “Daily Drive” playlist on Spotify, I realized how wrong I was. Meditation is more than just sitting down and breathing — it’s about clearing my mind, like hitting a refresh button. 

Meditation doesn’t have to be affiliated with religion or any ideology. It can be as simple as sitting down in your backyard for a few minutes and just being mindful of your surroundings. After doing this for a couple days, I realized that the only time I’m not doing anything is when I’m meditating. 

Our lives are constantly packed with things to do, and especially as a senior in the college application process, it feels like I always have endless tasks ahead of me. It’s nice to have a little break; we all deserve it. 

That being said, meditation isn’t easy. At first, I couldn’t concentrate on breathing because my mind would instantly start thinking about what I wanted to eat for lunch or stressing about if I answered question three wrong on the math test. It takes patience and practice, but the effort is worth it. With our busy lifestyles, taking time to recollect and recharge is crucial for our well-being and mental health. 

Of course, meditation isn’t the solution to all my issues: I have to continue to work hard to keep on track with my work, stop procrastinating and start spreading out my work better. But meditation allowed me to get into a calm mindset to reduce the accumulated stress from my procrastination and feel ready to move on. It brings a sense of serenity, allowing me to break free from the chains of overthinking and pressure.

Getting this little break, whether it’s five minutes or 20, has a much larger impact than I thought it would. I notice myself being mindful even when I’m not meditating, and I have a more positive outlook on life in general. So, I highly recommend you to listen to a video of rain falling and close your eyes. You might be surprised by how you feel afterwards.