When I came to college last year, I learned that I struggled with social and general anxiety.
I always thought that my stresses and fears were normal, but when I started suffering from intense anxiety attacks, I knew something was wrong. Through the help of counseling, I was able to work through most of these anxiety attacks, fears, and stress.
Last January was a really hard time for me. I lived in a dorm West Campus, far away from everything. I had a small window in my room and was suffering from seasonal affective disorder. My anxiety was as bad as it had ever been and my normal strategies didn't help anymore. This is when I discovered the power of guided meditation.
As a last-ditch effort to help myself fall asleep one night, I searched for a guided meditation for sleep. I had done some meditations in my high school religion classes and they always calmed me down. I picked the first one I saw on YouTube, put in a pair of earphones and listened to it.
I remember feeling a sense of peace I had not felt in a long time. I was able to sleep soundly that night and guided meditations were integrated into my strategies for combating my anxiety. I listened to them for stress relief, calming my mind, going to sleep and recharging my brain. I found it very useful to take a 15-minute break, before my brain completely shut down, to just let myself rest and recharge to then take on other tasks.
I fell out of this practice over the summer as I never really felt the need to use them. When I got back to school this year my anxiety came back with a vengeance, particularly my social anxiety. I felt like I never had time to do my meditation as my commitments to clubs, classes, and other social activities had picked up. It took one horrific anxiety attack while I was out at a bar for me to realize I need to go back to my guided meditations.
Now, I try and take 15 minutes a day to devote to my meditations. It can be as simple as sitting and breathing for a few minutes and mimicking the meditations or laying down and going into a deeper meditation. I've noticed the benefits of this practice as I feel like I have more energy, I'm more productive with my day and I sleep better.
If you or anyone you know suffers from anxiety I highly recommend this practice. I'm not an expert, but I have noticed the benefits in my life. It may not work for everyone, but it's worth a shot.