Worry. Nervousness. Stress. The feeling that something is coming. Meditation for anxiety is here to help.

We’ve all been there. That sense of worry, nervousness, stress and the feeling that something is coming… but sometimes that small sense turns into something bigger: full-blown clinical anxiety, and it can eat away at you. Recent studies show that 41.6 percent of college students struggle with generalized anxiety disorder, and that number seems to only be growing. (1) I too have had my own struggles with anxiety throughout college and into my adult life. With years of experience working with private yoga clients and students, I have seen many people come to me for help with their anxiety. So, how do I help them and how do I keep my anxiety at bay? One word. Meditation.

Meditation for Anxiety

Throughout my years as a yoga, mindfulness and meditation teacher, I have found that meditation for anxiety is one of the most helpful remedies. Aside from my own personal study, science is also starting to catch up with what yogis have known intuitively for centuries. Recent studies have shown that meditation can actually rewire your brain to help you cope better with stressful situations, feel less anxious throughout the day and improve your sleep. A regular meditation practice has been shown to help decrease the volume of the amygdala, the center for fear, anxiety and depression, and increase the volume of the hippocampus, which helps regulate emotional responses and memory. (2) This means that with regular meditation, you can learn new ways to cope with anxiety and change the way your body reacts to anxiety on a physical, emotional and neurological level. People also report meditation side effects such as improved sleep, concentration and performance in school and work life.

Meditation is the act of quieting the chatter in the brain and pursuing single-pointed concentration. Meditation is like taking a very powerful light bulb, harnessing it’s power and focusing that light into a laser beam. The wattage has not changed, but all of the power of the light has been concentrated and all turned to one point, making it extremely powerful. So how exactly do you start to meditate? After years of working with students and clients and studying meditation, I have found this method of starting a meditation practice to be one of the easiest and best ways to start — and you can do it in two weeks.

How to Start Meditating in Two Weeks

  1. Commit to your meditation practice and make an appointment with yourself to practice meditation. Do not break this appointment with yourself!
  2. Find a comfortable position.
  3. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
  4. Take a few deep breaths and close your eyes.
  5. Begin to focus on your breath.
  6. Start working on being completely immersed in the sensation of breath, be present in the moment, or start a guided meditation. You can find many short guided meditations like this to guide you.
  7. When your timer goes off, don’t give your meditation another thought. You are done.
  8. Repeat the same thing tomorrow.
  9. Give this at least two weeks and then check back in. Maybe write down a few thoughts on your first day and on your 14th day and notice how they have changed.

That’s it. Simple and easy. Make sure not to pass any judgment on your meditation. Try not to label your practice as “good” or “bad,” but just let it be what it is. All meditation is “good” as long as you tried. The changes are happening, so stick it out. The longer you practice, the more you will feel your body craving it. You can start to extend your timer from 15 minutes to 20 minutes, 30 minutes or even longer.

For more information on my method on how to start a daily meditation practice click here and check out this month’s bonus episode of the Mindful in Minutes Podcast “How to Start a Meditation.” Or check your campus events calendar and see if your school is offering meditation or yoga classes or has a club on campus. Look for yoga and meditation studios that offer a student discount or free student classes.


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Kelly Smith is the founder of the online yoga movement and meditation studio Yoga For You and the host of the Mindful in Minutes podcast. Kelly is a yoga and meditation teacher, yoga teacher master class provider and trainer, online influencer and founder of the Yoga For You method and student-center form of yoga and meditation that strives to help bring ancient philosophy and practice to a modern life. For more information on Kelly or any of her work visit www.yogaforyouonline.com.

Author

Kelly Smith is the founder of the online yoga movement and meditation studio Yoga For You and the host of the Mindful in Minutes podcast. Kelly is a yoga and meditation teacher, yoga teacher master class provider and trainer, online influencer and founder of the Yoga For You method and student-center form of yoga and meditation that strives to help bring ancient philosophy and practice to a modern life. For more information on Kelly or any of her work visit www.yogaforyouonline.com.

  • I haven’t tried meditating, but these steps definitely make it seem pretty easy!

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