Anxiety is widespread in our society, especially in this technological era where unsettling articles are literally in the palm of your hand ready to show up as soon as you open your social media feed. In this way, anxiety becomes a circle. Maybe you are already stressed because of work, or family-related issues, and the news doesn’t help you relax—instead, it exacerbates the problem. The majority of news outlets also take advantage of your stress and create addiction. It doesn’t help that anxiety is not an easy topic because people feel stigmatized.

I experienced anxiety when I moved for good to the United States and left my family in Italy. I remember that the last weeks I spent home with my parents getting ready to leave were particularly hard. I felt guilty, and on top of that, I had to deal with the fear of rebuilding my life in a new country knowing the harsh immigration laws and the time needed to take care of all the bureaucracy. During this tough time, I became more sensitive to violence, and the world news bothered me. My anxiety grew, and I experienced some panic attacks during the night.

I turned my attention inwards and realized that I needed to find a discipline to help me focus on the present. That’s how I discovered yoga and meditation. Once I settled down in the United States, I went to my first yoga class, and I immediately fell in love with the sensation I felt during the practice. For the first time in my life, I experienced an empty mind, and I was immersed in the present moment. In that period, I also met a girl who introduced me to the practice of meditation. I still consider myself an anxious person, but I have been working hard to find my inner balance and the right detachment from what happens in the world.

I think that experiencing anxiety brought me right into the hands of meditation. They might seem two opposite things, but for me, the first was necessary to discover the other. The point is that society makes it hard to talk about anxiety because it has a very negative connotation. But what if it was part of the path to find your true self?

It can be scary to experience chronic anxiety, and you might need help to regain your emotional balance.

But the first step is to embrace that unsettling feeling and take it as a signal that something needs to change deep inside of you.