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Mental Health

Meditation: Tips, Tricks, and My Experience

My Experience

            I’ve experienced anxiety and depression for about eight years of my life. I was about twelve years old and in middle school when I was officially diagnosed with both. It’s taken a big toll on my life, resulting in my missing out on lots of things either because I was too terrified to participate or because I was too drained to even get out of bed. I’ve taken plenty of necessary steps to improve my day-to-day life and overall mental health, but nothing is a constant solution. Outside of therapy and psychiatrist appointments, I’ve found something I’ve been able to do on my own when I need a little bit of extra help.

            I found meditation a couple years ago in the midst of a panic attack. It was early in the morning and I found myself all alone on the bathroom floor, shaking and crying. Like every other panic attack I’ve had, I was convinced that the world was going to end in that exact moment. Nothing I tried was effective in convincing myself that I was okay and safe. I felt terrified and isolated, but refused to wake anyone else up because I didn’t want to be a burden or be seen at one of my lowest moments.

            That’s when I picked up my phone and frantically started typing in things like “how to stop a panic attack” and “panic attack cures”. It felt pretty futile at first, sitting there reading things like “take deep breaths” and “try not to worry” all while an invisible hand was constricting my chest and throat, leaving me gasping for air. That’s when Guided Meditation videos started popping up on the search engine, and with nothing to lose, I clicked on one. I was immediately met with the sound of soothing music and a soft voice began to give me instructions to lie down, guiding me through breathing exercises, and teaching me to release the tension throughout my body.

            So, ever since that draining night a few years ago, I’ve found myself turning to Guided Meditation videos on YouTube any time I feel anxiety building up inside. Some days that means starting my morning with a ten minute mindfulness meditation and other days it means falling asleep to a three hour long guided sleep meditation. Whatever the reason and whenever the time I find myself turning towards meditation for a bit of relaxation, I’ve never had a poor experience with it. It’s become an effective way of grounding myself and snapping back into reality.

Tips and Suggestions

In my time spent practicing meditation, I’ve learned a thing or two I’d like to share. First, I’d like to say that for me, meditation was a bit of a trial and error before finding my flow and routine within it. So, if you’re going to give meditation a shot, make sure to give it some time before giving up on it.

     I’d say the biggest thing when testing out meditation is finding the type of meditation that works best for you. There are meditation music compilations, guided meditations with minimal speaking, and my favorite, guided meditation that is mostly a speaker leading you through the steps. I suggest trying a few of each of these so that you can get a feel for all that is out there when it comes to meditation.

     My last tip to make your meditation journey a bit easier is to try and find a comfortable and safe place that you can go to any time you plan on meditating. While you likely won’t always have access to this this place, especially during a more emergency meditation situation, I still think it’s good to have that comfort place you can go to most of the time when meditating. My meditation place is just my bed. I prop myself up with a million pillows, climb under my blankets and settle in for my guided meditation journey.

Tricks

     I don’t know if this necessarily counts as a “trick”, but my last piece of advice is to check out Jason Stephenson- Sleep Meditation Music on YouTube. Contrary to his channel name, most of his videos are guided meditation and they’ve grown to be my go-to. Most nights, I’m falling asleep to the sound of his voice guiding me through a peaceful journey to relaxation.

Conclusion

Overall, I highly recommend trying out meditation, especially if you’re someone who struggled with anxiety like me. It’s become one of my top ways to calm myself down in crisis and to just take a quiet moment to myself. It’s become my happy place.

My name is Allison and I'm a freshmen at Christopher Newport University. My plan is to major in Psychology and go on to be a Clinical Psychologist. I'm really into reading and writing, especially poetry for both.
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