Meditate On This Proposition

“I just need to lay down for a while and relax. I’ve had a stressful week.” Ah, the unenthusiastic ring of every human being on Sunday afternoon around 4 o’clock, give or take a few minutes. But even when our bodies get a chance to lay down, our minds are not as understanding to our relaxation-deprivation. I have one word for you, friend: meditation.

Now before you get all “I’m-not-a-hippy-meditation-isn’t-for-me or who-do-you-think-I-am-Buddha?” on me, lets talk about what meditation actually is. Meditation is described as a state of deep peace that occurs when the mind is calm and silent. A.K.A. the restful time you anticipated when laying down for your Sunday snooze, which was quickly interrupted by thoughts ranging from your uncertain future to “If the tiny black dot on your ceiling is bug or a hole, and if it is a hole, how did you manage to get a hole in your ceiling?”

Well, now that we have the basic understanding of what meditation is supposed to do, how does it happen? Even though I have practiced meditation before, I did not know the answer either, so I turned to the BFF of the 21st century, Sir Google.

The website for The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), said that meditation can affect your body in a few different ways.

Some types of meditation might work by affecting the involuntary nervous system, which regulates many organs and muscles to control our bodily functions like the heartbeat, sweating, breathing, and digestion.

Some types of meditation help by reducing activity in the sympathetic nervous system and increasing activity in the parasympathetic nervous system.

The sympa-what and parasympa-huh?

The sympathetic nervous system is what produces the “fight-or-flight response” when one is under stress; heart and breathing rate go up and blood vessels narrow.

When decreasing activity the sympathetic nervous system and increases activity in the parasympathetic nervous system one would feel much calmer. The parasympathetic nervous system causes the heart and breathing rate to slow down, the blood vessels to open more, and stimulates the digestive system.

Eric Raimondi, a junior here at Pentucket who has been practicing meditation for “about a year now,” started a meditation club at Pentucket earlier this year.

The club meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from 7:10-7:30ish in Ms. Cartier-Creveling, the health teacher’s, room. Eric says members can “come freely whenever they want,” and that, “no experience is necessary.” If you want to join the club, just let Eric or Ms CC know.

Eric originally started to practice meditation because he realized that his “ life could be handled in a less stressful manner.” Eric continues to say that, “meditation has helped me to transform my life into a stress-free life.” Eric also says that because of meditation he is, “able to focus on what really matters in [his] life.”

Eric isn’t the only one that meditation has helped to focus better. The website, gave statistics of overall improvement of a workplace in Detroit after three years of mandating employees to take part in meditation. The statistics said that the company’s absenteeism fell by 85%, productivity rose 120%, injuries dropped 70%, and profits increased 520%.

Also, in a recent article published in the Huffington Post on 3/12/14, titled “Meditation Experts Discuss the Real Secrets To Mindfulness at Work,” it states that mindfulness practice (meditation) has been associated with emotional stability, improved sleep, stress reduction and anxiety, and improved mental clarity.

On the subject of mental clarity, Eric agreed, saying that, “small issues in my life that once took hold of my attention are now almost negligible.”

Cooper Slack, also a junior and member of the meditation club, says, “I definitely feel ten times chiller on days when I’ve meditated. I would completely recommend it. It’s especially nice as a way to cope with stress.”

So, how appealing is that Sunday afternoon snooze sounding now?