Meditation and Deep Breathing

Meditation and Deep Breathing
Olivia Williams Anxiety

Hello! I'm a 22-year-old woman, fresh out of college and into the work world. But, I also suffer from anxiety, and have experienced both anxiety attacks and panic attacks. I've never done well with stress, and I'm learning how to handle it one step at a time, mainly through natural treatments and coping mechanisms to calm...

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When I was in college, senior year, around finals, there was pressure all over. Sometimes, I would have to go into the bathroom if I felt that it was all too much and other times I would lock myself in my dorm and stare at the wall to understand where my life was going and why it was out of control.

One of my roommates was also going through several things, and suggested that we should just... sit down for two minutes. I don't know why, but I dimmed all of the lights in my room, had us listen to serene music (that I found on YouTube), and lit a candle between us. The both of us sat down and held hands, and started to meditate like this was what we originally intended.

At first, I couldn't handle it. I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that we were doing this and we were both chuckling (me more so) about it. It definitely was interesting, but once we settled down and were in complete silence, it was probably the most relaxed I have ever felt in my life.

Meditation is centering your mind while breathing deeply, and ultimately clearing it from negativity. On the surface, it seems a little crazy, but it definitely works. I now take a few minutes of my day (a few, meaning 20 minutes) to sit with dimmed lights and my eyes closed--this helps me center myself and clear my own negative thoughts.

For first-timers, meditating is overwhelming. I do not recommend going to a class with other people who take it seriously because you may laugh at yourself. But, I highly recommend it.

Here are some tips that will help:

  • You need to be comfortable. I recommend sitting down with your legs crossed on the floor, but if laying down works, you can do that as well. 
  • Dim the lights. This will help give the room a certain ambiance.
  • Clear out any distractions. Do not do this in a cluttered room or with the TV on in the background. Try to also stay away from any children.
  • Put soft music on. Again, this helps with the ambiance of the room. Like romance, you need to set the mood.
  • Do it with a buddy. When trying a new thing, it's always best to have a friend that's beside you and trying the same thing. Like me, if you're close to them and it's the first time, you may laugh at each other, but it'll bring you two closer as friends and you'll feel the amount of stress you have go down.
  • Focus on your body's movement. A big part of meditation is breathing, so listening and observing the rise and fall of your chest is actually the best thing to do when you are trying to be in tuned with your body
  • Don't breathe forcefully. It may sound like a crazy tip, but this refers to sighing. Just. Breathe. You have to do it naturally in order for this to work.

If you need any more help, another option is looking through the various guides online to get an idea. Sometimes, even a video or two on YouTube may also help.