"You should try meditating! I hear it really helps with anxiety."
"Oh, you're having trouble sleeping? Have you tried meditation?"
"I meditate and it really helps with my depression."
Meditation — it's seriously underrated. Some people seem afraid of it because they don't know how to do it properly, but it can be an incredibly helpful way to deal with anxiety or sleep problems.
I hadn't even considered it. I talked to a friend about being too anxious to fall asleep at night, and she suggested this app she'd started using: Headspace. She said it helped her; maybe I should try it. So I did.
I downloaded the app that night and listened to the first guided meditation in the basic series. I liked it — the voice (Andy Puddicombe, the co-founder of Headspace) was soothing, and it was easy to follow the steps.
Whereas I always thought of meditation as something difficult, Headspace taught me that mindful meditating is a possibility, even with my anxiety.
During the meditation, the app guides you through deep breathing, mindful thinking, and clearing your mind. Even when your mind wanders, the app gently brings your focus back to the session.
I fell in love with Headspace. Some nights, I fell asleep while meditating (which is totally okay, I'd like to add, even though it's not the goal); other nights, a twenty-minute meditation was enough to clear my mind and help me fall asleep—and stay asleep.
When I finished the basic meditation pack, I bought an annual subscription — it's about $90, but worth it. I use Headspace almost daily. I use specific meditation packs, as well as individual sessions and sleep music (“Ocean Pier" is my personal favorite).
Headspace has helped with more than sleep, too. I use the breathing techniques I learned to calm myself during anxiety attacks. Those breathing techniques have even helped me during minor panic attacks. I've used some of the individual sessions, like “Losing Your Temper" and “Panicking," more than once.
I've used Headspace for almost a year, and it's a great way to naturally deal with anxiety symptoms. It's also a good way to learn techniques for mindfulness, so it can benefit anyone.
If you don't know how to meditate and want an easy way to get into it, Headspace will save you a headache. Try it today — you'll love it!
Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.