As college students, and humans in general, we experience anxiety. We react to and process anxiety in many different ways. If you are struggling to manage your anxiety, consider trying meditation!
I know what you’re thinking. “Meditation” sounds intimidating and inaccessible, as if it’s only designed for yogis in the remote Himalayas or L.A. celebrity yogis. However, meditation is actually a process for anyone. By slowing your breathing and thought processes, you can lower your blood pressure and increase your attention span. If you spend hours a day “plugged in,” staring at screens, and constantly hurrying to your next appointment, it will be refreshing to sit down and take a minute for yourself, and nothing else.
Learn to breathe—the right way
The key to meditation is focusing on your breathing. Slow your breaths, hold them longer than usual, and then slowly release them. To properly slow your breathing, you must inhale and exhale with intention. First, deeply inhale through your nose, causing the belly to extend, for at least 5 seconds. By breathing with your diaphragm, you will increase the amount of air you can take in. Avoid breathing with your chest, which may cause your belly to shrink, as this is a less efficient method of breathing. Then, hold your breath for a moment. Lastly, slowly and completely exhale for at least 5 seconds.
The 10 minute meditation
It sounds weird to simply sit thinking about nothing but your breathing for 10 minutes, but it’s that simple. If you find yourself getting distracted by different sounds, try playing a relaxing, instrumental song. (There are a variety of songs on YouTube; simply search “meditation music.” There’s even a 24/7 livestream of this type of music by a channel called Yellow Brick Cinema.)
Generally, optimal times to do this meditation are right when you wake up, or just before bed, but as you practice you will find the best time for your schedule. The most important thing to remember is to practice at least once a day. You may feel uncomfortable at first, but if you continue to push yourself to separate from any anxiety or stress, even for 10 minutes, eventually you’ll master it.
Lauren Utykanski enjoys blueberry green tea, the farmer’s market, and travelling. They told her Olympic dog walking doesn’t exist yet, so instead she decided to study professional writing with a minor in museum studies. Keep up with her on Instagram at @laurenuty.