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As a student, is it beneficial for me to take the practice of Buddhist meditation? If so what type of meditation should I incline myself into improving my concentration(tone down distraction) and dealing with stress?

I am however familiar with the breathing meditation and have practiced it for some time. However, I call myself a beginner of this meditation and haven't reached any considerable depths in this technique. I would also like to know the benefits of using such method in a situation like this, if you are familiar with anapanasati.

I understand that their is another question related to 'exams'. However, I am not narrowing on just exams, but university life in general. And please don't hesitate to give any type of meditation within Buddhism that you would see somewhat useful for me, I am very pleased to hear such.

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The negative affects on studies and overcoming them:

  • Distraction when you study means you cannot learn something properly - meditation can help keep focus.
  • Memory may lapse if you are scatter-brained - when doing exams you might not be able to recall something. Focus by meditation will help you remember things.
  • Time spent on studies - by pursuing other pleasure activities you lose time for studies. Meditation helps by taming your senses so you can study more.
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One of the biggest benefits of meditation is reducing your stress reaction, partly by letting go of your attachment to certain words and situations.

For instance, if a professor suddenly requires a 4 page essay on the macro economic effects of Britain's full entry into the EU and gives you only 24 hours to complete it, that may generate a stress response. And that stress grows as you think about the impossibility of the task and the ever approaching deadline. You're still going to do the paper, but your stress response makes it more difficult to do a good job.

However, with consistent meditation, you eventually develop a habit of letting go, faster. Instead of saying "A 4 paper by tomorrow!!!", your response becomes, "oh, a 4 page paper. Let's Google it.". It's like the Zen proverb "Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water." Life itself may not change with meditation, but your approach to life does.

As for the type of meditation, you may enjoy a lecture, "We Create Our Reality", by Dr. Fred Travis (Director of the Stanford Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition), where he describes how different forms of meditation affect the brain. Note where he talks about "neural plasticity" and how the brain changes its response to stress with a consistent meditation practice.

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