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Meditation for Anxiety: Student Edition

a person sitting on a yoga mat in meditation pose with plant beside them

 

Want to know one of the top reasons you’re procrastinating? Anxiety. The stress about doing the thing sometimes outweighs the urgency or even the desire to take action to complete the task. Adults who have decided to return to college or are completing a professional certification tend to experience varying levels of stress and anxiety. Not to mention the pesky added element of self-doubt.

So, we think its prudent to present a real and tangible way to counteract the anxiety that can sometimes arise on the path of finishing your degree as an adult learner: meditation. We’re providing three effective types of meditation to address and reduce anxiety, plus how to start incorporating them into your already busy life.

How meditation helps

Meditation is by no means a new concept, and stressed out students have been benefiting from a regular meditation practice for years now. So, what that means is that there’s plenty of research that points to the benefits of meditation and how it helps relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety. 

According to Healthline and others, meditation has a number of research-backed benefits, including:

  • Stress reduction
  • Anxiety control
  • Improved memory
  • Lengthened attention span
  • Improved sleep
Need a positivity boost? Read this.

Meditation for anxiety

Let’s move you past the student stress and get started with our top three methods of meditation for anxiety.

Mindfulness Meditation

For the busiest among us, mindfulness meditation may be your go-to anti-anxiety practice. You don’t need to set aside time or set up a specific place to get started implementing this practice into your life. It’s all just a matter of staying present. According to Mayo Clinic, it’s the nonjudgmental act of being “intensely aware” of your senses and feelings in the moment.

One quick way to start is slow down when you’re eating your next meal. Take it away from your desk! Sit outside and listen to the sounds while you smell and notice what it is you’re eating. 

Did you know? “Mindfulness meditation can improve working memory by 9% after just ten minutes a day. In one study, students who practiced mindfulness meditation for eight days performed better on their GREs, were less distracted, and improved their working memory.” –Lifehack.org

Body Scan Meditation

Sometimes busyness can dull our senses. The entire day can pass without truly realizing you’ve been rubbing that same spot on your neck all day. Or that you’ve been feeling tension in your chest for seemingly no reason. A body scan meditation is another no fuss way to get started with reaping meditation’s stress-relieving benefits.

Body scan meditation is similar to mindfulness meditation in that you’re aware of your senses, but in a slightly more structured way. What the body scan involves is sitting in place, closing your eyes, taking a few breaths, and checking in with each part of your body from head to toe. You’re exploring what’s happening at each stop. How does head feel, but also what are some thoughts that have gotten stuck? How does your stomach feel, but also has there been a pit feeling that has gone unaddressed?

Take some time to check in with how it is you’re feeling – your anxiety will thank you.

Guided Meditation

If you recognize the clear benefit and are committed to setting a regular practice, guided meditations can help you easily set a routine. Guided meditations tend to be pre-recorded audio, varying in length, that guide the listener with descriptions and instructions. For example, a description could include imagining a specific place, where you’re sitting, who you’re with, etc. Instructions would be the number of breaths, how deeply to breathe, and physical positioning. 

Calm, Headspace, and YouTube (free) have great options to find guided meditations.

 

Next steps

It’s more important now than ever to take care of yourself – mentally and physically. Be sure to take out whatever time you have, whether it’s five minutes or 30 to breathe deeply and reset. There are so many benefits to a regular meditation practice that extend far past reducing student stress and anxiety. But we hope this quick guide on meditation for anxiety helps you do just that.

And that’s it! You now have the basics of meditation for anxiety down and can get started right now to decrease your student stress and get back to checking off your to-do list.

 

Need a little more help? Click here for information about CityU of Seattle counseling services.


Published May 20, 2024

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