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Mental Health

How Meditation Improved My Life

College can be stressful. With strict deadlines, back-to-back exams and endless amounts of homework, it’s no surprise that college students have a lot of anxiety and stress. As a sophomore college student, I’m no exception. As someone who has anxiety, college has the ability to make my life a lot more difficult, which is why it was important for me to learn meditation as a way to cope.

Anxiety can be difficult to control. Personally, I don’t always know what will make me anxious, so it’s important that I’m prepared for any possible scenarios. Whether I’m in class taking an exam or confronting a friend about a difficult problem, I need a mental plan in order to be ready to take on the day.

Meditation isn’t as difficult or strange as some people make it out to be. It doesn’t have to be sitting on a yoga mat in lotus pose. Day to day meditation can include sitting somewhere quiet for 10 minutes with relaxing music and closing your eyes while breathing deeply. It can be a 20 minute quiet practice before bed where you calm your mind and relax your muscles. It can also have to do with being more mindful in your day to day.

When I first began meditating, I had trouble sitting quietly for five minutes and focusing on my breath, so I began using guided meditation as a helpful tool. It’s essentially like someone is teaching you how to meditate and doing it with you, which is so helpful when your brain won’t stop running. I personally use an app called Headspace, and they offer tons of guided meditations for payment or a free 10 sessions to get you started. I also go on YouTube and look up guided meditations because there’s so many to choose from and they’re all free.

Meditation has saved me from many panic attacks and kept me cool in difficult situations. When I would previously have to leave the room to calm down, I am now able to take a moment to quietly deep breathe and regain composure. When I’m stressed and restless, my default is no longer to freak out and become overwhelmed. I am able to remove myself from the situation mentally and take some time to relax, just with the power of breath and meditating.

I still have a lot to learn when it comes to meditation, but I can safely say it has helped me in both my personal and academic life.

Take a deep breath. Relax the tension in your shoulders. You got this. 

Nikki Melamed is currently a sophomore at Penn State University, majoring in Communications and minoring in Sociology. She previously wrote articles for FreshU, one of which was republished by Teen Vogue. She also loves naps, books, dogs and writing, although she doesn't like writing about herself in the third person. In her free time, Nikki can be found reading, doing her makeup, eating way too much popcorn and listening to music.
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