By Paige Baxter

Anxiety is very much a real thing that more and more people are struggling with how to handle it. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines anxiety as, “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.” With all the pressures and stresses from daily life, social media, society, work, etc., it’s no surprise that more and more people are discovering they have anxiety. 

Anxiety is something that I strangely enough thought I was immune to until recently. But it was more so that I didn’t recognize the symptoms. Some of my symptoms have included a tightness in my chest, difficulty breathing, excessive worrying, and a severe lack of motivation to do anything. It became increasingly harder to get myself to complete normal tasks that I usually considered a piece of cake. Then, I did some Google searching and looked up the symptoms. In a matter of seconds, it was crystal clear to me. I had been experiencing symptoms of anxiety and likely experienced an anxiety or panic attack. Meditation was one of the biggest game changers as far as reducing the physical symptoms.

The symptoms occurred regularly until I realized what I was doing wasn’t working. I desperately needed a solution and one that would work long-term, so I consulted with my therapist, Katherine. Besides putting a self care routine in place, she also suggested I meditate for five minutes every day for 30 days to make it become a habit. “Actions usually become a habit after 21 days,” she told me. Plus it’s hard to make a good enough excuse to get out of doing a 5-minute-long activity. I mean, really, it is only 5 minutes out of my entire day. 

For the most part, I’ve been using guided meditations on the app, Simple Habit. Sometimes I switch it up and try repeating a mantra or do a walking meditation at a local labyrinth. After the first week, I was already sold on the benefits. Sure, I always knew that meditation is good for me, but I only had stopped my monkey mind a few times a week, never every day. 

Since I started this little experiment, my mind has been so clear. It has only ever been this clear when I practiced yoga 3 to 4 times a week and this amount of time adds up to significantly less hours. I also feel more grounded than I did previously to starting this new habit. 

After three full weeks, my anxiety symptoms have almost completely disappeared, so I don’t think I’ll ever doubt the power of meditation ever again.

This is all to say that give meditation a serious try. See these tips if you doubt that you can meditate.