Science & Technology

Innovating the way we meditate

Stress is a bitter antagonist that affects every student at some point in their studies, some more frequently than others. While a certain degree of stress is normal, over time, chronic stress can impede the immune system, which may contribute to a sleuth of other serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses including mental disorders like depression and anxiety.  Even when it is not impairing immune systems, stress can still affect relationships with loved ones, work, and school.

A group of McGill Students, who dub themselves the Make Energy Your Awareness (MEYA) team, recently decided to take on the job of reducing stress by changing the way students meditate. The idea came about during a class with Mark Berlin, ISID professor of practice. Studies have found that regular aerobic exercise as well as mind-body practices of breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga, can help reduce stress. For students in particular, some benefits include improved academic achievement, better focus, and reduction in maladaptive addictions.

“MEYA is an innovative mobile app that goes beyond meditation,” wrote the MEYA student team members Sebastian Mattey, Antoine Nigond, and Christopher Samen, in an email to The McGill Tribune. “ [Our approach] comes down to the combined power of [the] teachings of modern transformational alchemy and life-coaching techniques including hypnosis and NLP [neuro-linguistic programming] [as well as] the power of music technology.”

The MEYA team noticed the positive influence of music on mental wellbeing and incorporated it into the meditation app to make it fun and easy to integrate into everyday routines

“MEYA Music Mind Journeys cover a range of music genres, from techno to deep to shamanic,” the MEYA student team wrote. “MEYA has been developed with the idea that meditation can be practiced much more easily in combination with the power of music. MEYA Music Mind Journeys are meditation [sessions] created with the goal of helping users to control their minds and unleash their full potential.”

The app was created to work in sync with music: MEYA designed the recordings’ frequencies to help bring the user into a meditative and relaxing state.

“Music is recorded in the harmonic frequency of 432Hz, including bi-neural beats to facilitate meditative states both static and dynamic,” the MEYA student team wrote. “The MEYA Music Mind Journeys are pre-recorded, guided sessions covering […] meditations, affirmations, [and] visualization combined with cutting edge music.”

These journeys are aimed at facilitating relaxation and uplifting students’ moods.

“MEYA’s student team has been driving the product development for Music Mind Journeys tailored to students’ needs,” the MEYA student team wrote. “[Its aim is] to increase concentration and ability to focus the mind, manage stress and anxiety, increase motivation, and balance emotional life. MEYA will provide a set of bespoke meditation for relaxation, concentration during exam preparation, and exam taking.”

The MEYA group held an app sampling during Wellness Week at McGill and obtained feedback from 14 attendees.

“Feedback so far suggests users are extremely happy with its effectiveness, [and] also with how easy it has been to integrate into their everyday routines,” the MEYA student team wrote. “MEYA is looking to work with McGill to evaluate the impact of MEYA […] on student performance from both the perspective of exam achievement and their personal mental health. The MEYA app and website is set to launch in March, 2019 [on the Play Store].”

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