Meditation in Schools and Our Lives: Can it Help?


Jason Stevenson

Embracing the Role Meditation can play in helping balance our lives.

Sadie Kiefer, Contributing Writer

What is meditation? Who does it benefit and why does meditation benefit them? Also, how do we become more prone to accepting different coping strategies (like meditation) in today’s day and age?

In a recent video of how students can “change their thoughts.” This video goes over things like the placebo response, to meditating, and how our brains get stronger and “thicker”, according to Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Harvard. According to Lazars’ research that was conducted in response to her general placebo response counterargument; Lazar put many individuals who never had meditated before, into an MRI scanner, to see their brain activity before meditation commenced for the next eight weeks.

Lazar found that those who meditated for at least 30 minutes per day, had an overall stronger and thicker hippocampus. Which if you’re a little fuzzy on what this part of the brain is for, like me, it’s responsible for “learning, emotion regulation and memory”. Moreover, the temporoparietal junction became stronger as well. This is widely responsible for utilizing different perspectives, empathy and compassion.

Lazars’ findings, among others’, were compelling enough for schools to support meditation in certain states. However, much backlash has been noted within certain areas of the US, who find that meditation is quite the opposite of healthy for the brain. Some will go even further, to say that implementing said meditation in schools, is introducing “Buddhism” in an otherwise “secular environment”. In this same article, others simply state, that meditation is modern day “segregation”, to teach students of color “to be passive” and letting terrible things that may be present in their lives, be accepted and “ok”.

I have personally tried meditation, and had many people say that it isn’t part of their status quo and further telling me that it is against “our” religion. Mostly my mom, but many family members have seared into my brain that meditation, yoga, words of affirmation and further anything helping my overall health, is simply malarkey. However, for someone dealing with mental health issues, I have made it my mission to further ignore anyone who is not going to support my journey. Now, I’m not saying meditation and yoga, are going to cure your every issue. However, these strategies to cope with stress and deal with the real world are going to be hard at first.

Taking the time to meditate, what do I do when I meditate. And other questions that might pop into your brain whilst meditating, are common and everyone is thinking similar and substantial questions. Now that we have introduced these common practices into our school rooms, we will learn about real life and how to deal with it. If school or anyone out there can teach, it’s you. By taking a few (seemingly hard, but) vital steps to improve your overall outlook and brain function.

Don’t know how to start, I always try words of affirmation first. “I am capable of being loved”, for example. Or “what is happening in my life right now, is just the motivation I need to not let it impact my future” and further embrace the positives in your life. Try these steps today for just 5 minutes, if you can, to alleviate stress and escape reality momentarily. It helped me and I’m sure you could benefit from it. Maybe not short term, but over a period of time (give it 8 weeks like the case study above) it might just send your mental state to tranquil grounds.