Everyone gets nervous
or anxious from time to time. For instance, public speaking, job interviews,
starting college, moving on your own, having too much responsibilities, death
of a loved one and so much more. However, for some people, anxiety becomes so
frequent, that it begins to take over their lives. For most of my life, I have
dealt with a significant amount of stress and anxiety especially in school. These
feelings were subconsciously present in my life. I say subconsciously because I
thought being in that state was the normal way of life for everyone.
Being Filipino and
Asian, my parents’ high expectations for success was stressful for me. At the
age of six, I was expected to learn right away, instead of play. I was told to
do better and harder on fractions and the alphabet. At the age of ten, I was expected
to come inside to do more homework, instead of playing with my friends. I was
expected to get high marks or else I am a failure. And
then high school comes and everyone starts studying and planning their future.
I spend those years panicking quietly about my future because that’s all that
anyone talks about.
Nevertheless, I became
aware of my anxiousness when I started to go to University. There was too much
going on for me, it was the first time I was away with my parents, I lived on
my own and I don’t know anybody from this town. I felt terribly homesick. My freshman year was scary and miserable. I was doing fine in school
but, in the middle of my second term, I hit a wall. I started to experience
panic attacks so severe I stopped going out with my friends and ultimately lost
most joy in life. I lost my motivation
to go to school and study. It was like being at the bottom of a hole,
looking up and seeing the top, but having no rope to climb out. I knew I had a
few options, a life without joy or go on a journey to find a way to help myself
out of that hole.
So, I began to do something about it. I
started to go to the gym and workout when my anxiety came up. Going through
long exercise sessions helped me, but it wasn’t practical to continue dropping
whatever I was doing to take off for an hour-long exercise session anytime my
anxiety flared up.
One day, I saw a YouTube video, it was
called the 20-minute mindfulness meditation
for being present. It was then that I was introduced to the world of
meditation and mindfulness. When my anxiety came up, it was practical for me to
listen to that 20-minute video or just sit down and focus on my breathing and
I became aware that when my mind is drifting
all over, I am not achieving anything. And mindfulness offers a powerful set of
tools to make my emotional life safer, more peaceful, and easier to understand.
I can think more clearly about how to take care of the situation.