Sometimes in my school counseling office I see middle school students who are feeling challenged to manage anxiety. I hear students report anything from “I feel anxious” to “I’m having a panic attack.” It can be so hard for people in the middle of intense anxiety to know how to calm their system down to become regulated and comfortable again.
Technology has given us some new resources that students (and adults) have at their fingertips to increase their ability to confidently manage anxiety symptoms and increase overall mindfulness and well-being. I first learned of some of these apps a few years ago and have since used them numerous times with students. I even like to use some of them myself to create an overall sense of calm.
The apps have a variety of resources, including basic ambient sounds to relax to (or have running in the background), guided meditations of varying lengths and purposes, breathing exercises, and even storytelling. Often, just having students sit quietly while breathing and listening to ambient sounds of their choice helps them feel at peace, regulated, and ready to return to their studies. Who doesn’t need a mental break sometimes?
One of the things that is super exciting to me is that recently students have begun telling me about apps they have found and are using on their own to practice mindfulness and breathing exercises. Sometimes they come to my office seeking their own self-regulation time to use their app in a way they know already works for them, which is so cool!