All students feel the immense stress of school. There are tests, homework assignments, extracurricular activities, projects, college applications and more. But how can this stress be managed? Teachers often dump all of this on students without real solutions to them. However, Spanish teacher Sr. Martinez works to help students manage their stress with his weekly meditation classes.
Martinez first learned about leading and participating in meditation while in college. His interest in meditation stems from his anxiety and PTSD due to his experiences from witnessing the wars in Nicaragua as a child.
“My interest in meditation started as a method to escape from the inner agony triggered by memories and images,” Martinez said.
Meditating helps to bring the body into a state of relaxation, which helps students in multiple ways. At George Mason University and the University of Illinois, psychology students conducted experiments on the correlation between meditation and mental capacity. Two different groups of students, those who had meditated and those who hadn’t, both listened to a lecture and later took a test. Unsurprisingly, those who meditated beforehand did much better. Meditation helps to clear the mind of countless issues and thoughts flying through student’s brains and grants them mental clarity, focus and higher brain efficiency. It also helps to prevent addiction to drugs or alcohol as well as depression and anxiety. Also, it greatly increases a student’s happiness and self-confidence. All of these could prove vital to a student’s grades and academic future.
“Meditating allows us to improve concentration, reduce stress and just allows a sliver of happiness into our hectic weeks at school,” sophomore Gian Vega said of his meditation experience with Martinez.
This method works to alleviate the stress that students must confront on a daily basis. Because this proves to be so effective, it could be very beneficial to incorporate stress-management activities throughout school.
“I think meditating is definitely necessary for school because it relieves the tension everyone goes through throughout their day,” Vega said. “And with the essays, pop quizzes and tests, it really just reminds us that there is always time for ourselves and our well-being.”
Martinez also adds that on days without meditation, students are restless and cannot focus as much. From his personal experiences, meditation helps his students relax and “unplug from academic demands and focus solely in relaxing the mind and body.”
“Meditation can help students not only to cope with academic and extracurricular demands but family issues as well,” Martinez said. “There are countless publications written on the benefits of practicing meditation on a regular basis. Some inner city schools in the country are implementing “quiet time” in order to help students be more productive, disciplined and better human beings.”
There are a few stress-management activities throughout Burlingame High School, including yoga for freshmen during PE on occasion. But in order to compensate for the immense stress that every student feels, other stress-management activities should be further incorporated with school. This comes with multiple advantages for students, allowing them to let go of their issues and stress, to further focus on what matters.