These are troubling times, and feeling stress and anxiety is normal in situations like these. It can feel crushing, but you can manage these feelings with meditation if you know how. You may groan at this, but honestly it works. I’ve had anxiety and panic attacks ever since a-levels and I can honestly tell you that meditation has helped me in so many ways. It helps you ground yourself in reality. Don’t get me wrong, it takes practice – you may not understand what I mean the first time around, but it’s like any skill, you have to fine-tune it.
First of all, find a space where you will not be disturbed, next get yourself comfortable, either in a chair or in bed. Take a big deep breath through your nose and let it out slowly through your mouth. Repeat this step three or four times, remember to relax the whole of your body.
Take your tongue from the roof of your mouth, drop your shoulders and close your eyes. Breath in and out and concentrate on what you can hear in the space around you.
Do this until you start to feel your mind drifting. This is normal, let it, follow it. Then slowly bring your attention back to the present and focus back on your breathing.
One technique is to ‘switch off’ your body. Start from your head, and just one by one switch your body parts off. I usually imagine a light switch that I just flip. Moving down from your head to your shoulders, down one arm. Turn all of your fingers off, and then do your other arm. Next relax your chest, doing the same thing the entire way down your body to your toes.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Concentrate on how your body is feeling, is it heavy or achy from your day’s exercise? Hopefully at this point you are relaxed, don’t stress if you don’t feel anything on your first few times. It takes practise, but don’t be discouraged! It’s such an amazing skill to have, whether its exam stress, friend drama, or Covid-19 anxiety – meditation brings reality back to your fizzing brain.
There are lots of apps out there to help you, one of them is Headspace. Normally it has a monthly subscription; however, with Spotify student it comes with the £4.99 package. It is essentially free. Who doesn’t like free stuff? It does a guided step by step meditation, with tonnes to choose from. Whether you want sleep podcasts or soundscapes, how to destress or how to live a happier life – Headspace has it all.
If you don’t have Spotify (all of you apple music users…) there are also meditation guides on YouTube and online. Even if you think that meditation takes too much time, too much effort or just isn’t you – give it a try. You may be surprised, and let’s be honest, there’s not much else to do at the moment.