A Beginner's Guide to Meditation And Self-Awareness

My entire life, I have always had anxiety, and I managed it pretty well. However, when I started college, my anxiety hit levels that I didn't even know existed. For a while, I was in a constant state of stress, worrying about the past or the future, and I wasn’t able to really live my best life. However, my boyfriend noticed all these changes and suggested I start to meditate and do yoga to help with my anxiety and to better connect with myself in each moment, and let me tell ya, he was right! So, here's a quick beginner guide to meditation and self-awareness.  Todd Kent

 

According to psypost.org, “meditation training increases the ability to perceive the self in a more healthy, present-moment way. Mindful self-awareness is associated with decreased activation of brain regions associated with rumination, according to research published in the journal Biological Psychology.” Basically, in non-scientific terms, meditation should help to reduce anxiety, and that's exactly what it did for me. At first, meditation was pretty difficult. Now, I know this sounds stupid because you're probably thinking, “How hard can spacing out for five minutes be?” You would be surprised. I did everything right. I downloaded an app, shut off my lights and sat in the comfiest position I could find and tried so hard to listen to what the app was telling me to do, but I couldn’t. My mind would not shut off at all and intruding thoughts just kept popping up. This just caused me more anxiety and I gave it up for a bit, thinking I was doing it wrong, but that's just the thing. You cannot meditate incorrectly. When you meditate, you do not have to completely shut off your mind, because that is almost impossible. The most important thing is to just relax and not force anything to happen. Once you learn how to relax your body and mind to a state where you aren’t putting pressure on yourself, medatation will come easily. 

 

self-love Original Illustration by Gina Escandon for Her Campus Media

Here are some good meditation apps you can find on the app store: 

- Headspace: Meditation and Sleep

- Calm (Blue background)

- Meditation Nest 

a woman kneeling on a yoga mat lograstudio After I started to meditate 4 or 5 times a week, I found my anxiety started to lessen. I had help from other places regarding my anxiety, but meditation was a great way to calm myself down at the end of the day. This allowed me to wake up in the morning more refreshed and less stressed about the day-to-day things I had to worry about. Because of this, I was able to live in the moment more often. Of course, I still struggle with anxiety and worries, but now I am able to appreciate life and live every moment in the moment, and handle those big stressful moments as they come.