OPINION: Meditation apps provide private therapy for students on a budget

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At around the same time each semester, the days and weeks begin to simultaneously quicken and drudge on, like an anxiety-ridden roller coaster.

The concept of an approaching finals week chokes the students who have thought all semester, “That’s not due until November, I’ve got time.” The result of this realization? Stress, junk food, weird sleeping habits, increased consumption of energy drinks and a whole lot of anxiety.

Being on a college budget frequently deters students from accessing mental health resources on campus. The first few visits may be free at counseling centers, but what happens when a student can’t cover the copay, or their insurance won’t pick up the cost? Are we expected to drop all our bad habits and just start feeling better?

This is where technology comes in.

Most would believe that being on the brink of a breakdown would warrant a technology detox. However, meditation apps — programs to help listeners work through stress and anxiety or even boost happiness and productivity — might be exactly what Kansas State students need.

We are already on our phones 24/7. We already subject ourselves to obscene amounts of artificial light before falling asleep — if you don’t scroll through social media before going to bed, who are you? So why not lay our phones next to our ears and listen to a soothing voice telling us how to breathe so we don’t have a panic attack in the middle of a midterm and run out of class?

Most meditation apps offer free trials. Others have specific listening programs that are free with others you can access through a subscription or upgrade. A handful of apps available are Calm, OMG I Can Meditate, Smiling Mind and Aura.

Even if a student doesn’t want to admit to themselves that staying up until 4 a.m. with a rapidly beating heart because they can’t stop thinking about due dates is behavior that warrants a trip to a counselor, these calming apps can be the most private form of therapy.

Who knows, maybe a few months down the road when you’re sipping hot chocolate and sitting next to a Christmas tree or a menorah, you can delete the app off of your phone and pretend that a mental breakdown never happened.

That’s the beauty of technology: soothing your mental health issues in total privacy.

That’s the modern student.

Madison Obermeyer is a junior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to [email protected]

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