The coronavirus continues to take its relentless toll around the world. People’s emotions as we live through this unprecedented time run the gamut from anxiety to despair to resentment. We are all grappling with a level of stress that can leave us preoccupied and unfocused. It’s important that we find ways to lighten the mental burden that comes from living with this heightened state of stress.
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and having an awareness of what we are experiencing at the moment. It is a valuable tool each of us inherently has, but that we don’t often tap into. Mindfulness keeps us connected to and observant of what is going on within and around us without letting our thoughts spiral out of control with all the “what ifs.”
Mindfulness lets you access a broader awareness that, instead of amplifying the stress, can actually ease it. We are better able to put our anxiety in perspective and can mindfully find our way through the stress so that we can regain a sense of calm and centeredness.
To practice Mindfulness and help get through the uncertainty of the pandemic, use these techniques:
1. Stay Rooted In The Present
It’s important to recognize that this is a difficult time, but don’t get ahead of yourself and indulge in catastrophic or self-destructive thoughts. Rein in any thoughts that project negativity. Instead, focus on thoughts that are centering and grounding, such as “This too shall pass,” and “I can handle whatever comes.”
2. Restore Yourself Through Meditation
Meditating by focusing on your breath can be very restorative. You may also silently repeat a phrase or mantra that’s uplifting and affirmative. For example, you might use the phrase, “I’m okay,” or “Let it go.”
Meditation can restore your sense of balance, harmony, and spiritual equilibrium. When you can retain that state even without meditating, you become more aware of what disrupts it and able to let go of the negativity.
3. Take Breaks From The News
The news and social media outlets churn out a constant barrage of alarming stories and speculations. Don’t let yourself binge watch. Check-in for only a short time once each day, and then turn your mind to what’s happening in your present moment and the “news” welling up from your spiritual core.
4. Awaken Your Spiritual Self
French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said that we are “spiritual beings having a human experience.” You are not just a dense body; you are a divine spirit. You must remind yourself that your spirit knows more than your human self, and you must not let your human experience run the show.
Take some quiet time to connect to this wisdom. Sit or lie in a quiet place. Breathe in slowly and out slowly several times. As you breathe, say to yourself: “I am present… I am in the now… I am a spiritual being… I am having a human experience.”
5. Take Mental Health Breaks
Exercising Mindfulness doesn’t ever entail sitting in solitary meditation. It can take the form of walking in nature and remarking the shapes, colors, sounds, and smells. Feel yourself a part of your surroundings and experience a sense of non-separation.
Connect to the healing qualities of the natural world and its sense of expansiveness. Feel like you’re breathing along with all that’s around you.
By practicing these Mindfulness techniques, you can ease the stress of these stressful times. You have the means within you to stay in the present and to connect to a broader perspective and a more insightful understanding of the world around you.
For times like these, Mindfulness offers a restorative path forward.