Anchor Staff Writer
If you’re anything like most college students around the world you’re probably trying to crunch everything into one schedule. This can include, but isn’t limited to making sure assignments are turned in on time and fitting all aspects of life into one convenient time frame, which is a recipe for anxiety attacks and health problems. Having health problems on top of this is going to make all the normal responsibilities so much more wearing and tiring.
Gratitude is something that’s hard to practice when it’s a grim world that we live in. When the disabled and chronically ill student body is facing a level of disparity and level of loneliness, we feel we’ll never get away from it. Sometimes, our emotions can overtake us and cloud our senses. We may make rash decisions or say something we don’t mean. We may feel like we’re going to get sick, and sometimes with schoolwork, we feel like we can’t finish.
There are many skeptics who don’t think that meditation works. Are you one of them? The following meditation has helped a lot of people I know who suffer from chronic illnesses. This meditation involves the five senses.
To start, pick something that you can see. This is engaging your sense of vision. Choosing something visual to focus on reminds us that we are grounded and can see the things around us. We can shift our concentration to focus and examine said object. Consider things like the colors of the object, its shape, etc.
Secondly, what can you smell? This part of the exercise engages the sense of smell. Sometimes with anxiety, we can lose ourselves in the rush of our nerves and forget to really acknowledge what’s around us. At this time of year, there are beautiful things to smell. Taking long, deep breaths can help us realize what scents we can be missing out on and help us discover what scents can help calm us, like fresh rain fall or fresh morning breezes.
The next two senses run concurrently with smell—what can we hear and taste? Typically, we can only hear our own panicked thoughts racing and it’s a struggle to rope ourselves out of them. Honestly, once you start using your safe words and sentences, you begin to believe it. Personally, I say, “I will be okay. I’m okay. This will pass. I won’t be able to help myself if I don’t calm myself.”
The last sense, and perhaps the most important is the sense of touch. This is the most grounding of all. For those with severe anxiety and panic disorder, when we find ourselves getting swallowed up by anxiety and panic, we feel our body get cold or numb at times and find it difficult to stay in touch with reality. Making sure that we stay in touch is what’s key and vital to ensuring that we stay in as much control as possible. Usually, this would all be done just by sitting down and touching something simple like a couch, or a fabric that is comforting. Having something of comfort with a student on campus is always nice, as long as it’s school permitted.
There are a multitude of ways to make sure that we stay in control of our anxiety and our panic when we feel that everything around us is spinning relentlessly out of control. Sometimes even the most obvious of methods to calm us down can work if we are willing to give them a try.