Keeping Mental Health in Mind


Photo by: Jordan Revenaugh

Practicing meditation is a major component of attaining mindfulness.

Jordan Revenaugh, Editor-in-Chief

Every year has its so-called “buzzword”, and the popular words of recent years have commonly centered on the idea of being health-conscious. This year, 2017, however, is starting off differently, placing an emphasis not on physical health, but rather on mental awareness.

“Mindfulness” is anticipated to be one of, if not the most, vital words of the year. In an age where so much concentration is placed upon technology and events occurring around the world, it is easy to lose focus on what is important, and it is all too common to forget to live in the moment. The concept of mindfulness places emphasis on introspection into the hopes of living fully in the current moment.

The ability to focus on just one entity at a time is what mindfulness is all about, but how exactly is this peaceful state of mind achieved? The answer comes in the practice of something which is often wrongly perceived: meditation. No, meditation does not need to be spiritual or religious. Consequently, it does not need to be conducted in a temple or a church of any sort. It does not take years to show effects, and it is certainly not a way to run away from one’s problems.

Meditation is actually quite straightforward. All it requires is a quiet place and a will to focus on nothing other than breathing, even if the mind begins to wander to more trivial matters. It does not take as long to meditate as one might think; all that is needed is at least five minutes out of the day. The concept is simple, seemingly too simple to reap any sort of benefits at all. Reality, nonetheless has proven otherwise.

“For high schoolers’ in particular, even just meditation can help with focus and concentration, as well as stresses from day to day,” said psychology teacher Mrs. Pelz.

Some of the more obvious benefits include a decrease in stress and tension, thus leading to the physical impacts of lowered blood pressure along with anxiety-based pain, including headaches and ulcers. Moreover, studies report increasing energy and serotonin levels in the brain directly correlating with an uptake of meditation, leading to an overall better and happier mood.  As a result of these physical benefits, frequent meditators see an increase in clarity, peace of mind, and quality of life attributed to newfound positivity and joy.

Of course negativity cannot be eradicated from one’s life completely, but isn’t it the goal, at the end of the day, to live as fully and as happily as possible? Don’t all people seek to feel contentment in their lives with as little negativity as possible?

That is where the buzzword of 2017 is different from those of the past . It doesn’t emphasize hypersensitivity on counting calories or the content of food. It doesn’t require completely cutting out the sweet taste of pizza or cake or skipping time with friends to go to the gym. Instead of taking away, it focuses on adding a little bit of happiness to each day. Five minutes spent focusing on the present can lead to so much more joy ensued in the future.