Growing up with anxiety has its pros and cons. Of course, this is me being optimistic. Anxiety can be a nasty thing to deal with. One of the things I did learn with anxiety is the fact that our brains are never silent—like, ever. Even when we sleep, they continue to dwindle about, and that is what allows us to dream. If you’re an anxious person like me, sometimes dreams can turn to nightmares because our subconscious is trying to cope with what is making us uncomfortable or challenging us in our real life.
Dreams tend to be a bit more exaggerated. You can be slightly upset at someone, and at night time, you’ll find a movie inside your mind of you brutally hitting the person over and over again. You wake up scared and confused and the cycle goes on.
One of the most important lessons I have ever learned is how to silence the mind. We can either be our best friend or our worst enemy, tearing ourselves up from the inside out. Scientifically speaking, we only use 10% of the human brain, and it already has that much power over us. Imagine if we used all 100% of it? Our mind has an incredible way of controlling many things, and it can get away with controlling us as well. Before you know it, you feel like a robot, like there’s a small factory of little humans wiring the way you think, act, and walk without letting you override the system.
Even though this sometimes scares people, I tend to look on the bright side of things. We can override the system and become CEOs of our body and mind, as corny as that sounds. Having control over your mind and thoughts means having more control over the outcome of so many things.
When things began to get too heavy for me, I felt like an existing object just floating through space and time. It was not until I learned to silence my mind and control my thoughts that I began to see an improvement in my mental health.
Meditation has become my best friend, and I honestly can’t stress this enough. If you find yourself overwhelmed with thoughts and voices, you should consider befriending it as well. I have never been a yogi or practiced stretching in the morning while saying “ommm,” so when people suggested meditation, I turned it away. A lot. It got to a point where I felt overwhelmed and saturated, so I decided to give it a go. Now it helps me shut off the roars inside my mind and helps me focus on the now, on controlling what is in my reach and moving forward with a fogless mind.
Meditation is simple, honestly. The key to learning how to do this is to be consistent. I learned by listening to YouTube videos and podcasts, but essentially this is what it ties down to.
Get comfortable. Either sit or lay down—whatever makes you feel more relaxed.
Inhale and exhale. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in, then let it out. The point of doing this is to focus on your breathing so your mind does not wander off or start to think about other things that are not important at the time. This is your moment to disconnect completely from the world and just focus on your breathing.
Focus on one noise. If your mind begins to fantasize or take you somewhere else, just take it back to your breathing. In the beginning, I would inhale and exhale loudly so I could focus on that sound and that sound only. I also tend to turn on my A/C as well and focus on that white noise. You can even listen to white noise or waves crashing on Spotify. Just make sure it’s any noise but the one in your mind.
Do it at your own pace. I’m no Deepak Chopra—I don’t meditate for two hours. Bless his soul for having so much peace within him. I simply began with three minutes, then went to five, and now I’m at 12. Dont butcher yourself if it takes you a couple of tries before you can sit still with a silent mind for three minutes. Once you do conquer this quest, definitely pride yourself in it. This helped me realize how much noise was going on in my mind and how it is crucial to control these.
Relax, you’ll be fine. My suggestion is doing this in the morning before you check your phone or even get out of the bed to go to the restroom. It is so easy to unlock your phone to check the time and instead you find yourself bombarded with an overwhelming amount of news that you really don’t want to deal with before your morning coffee. Before you go out into the world, make sure your universe has stopped trembling so you have a solid ground to walk on for the rest of your day.
Breathe. Remind yourself that you are healthy, happy, loved, and have the ability to take control of your life
Given the current circumstances our world is facing, I believe in making our mental health a priority. We must learn to calm ourselves in the face of adversity and the best way to spread positivity is for us to feel energized first. Understand what is going on inside your mind, take control of your thoughts, and learn to lift the weight off your shoulders, one deep breath at a time.