With the global pandemic and self-isolation these days, we think we all could use a special tactic to put in our toolboxes to find clarity and presence-of-mind even amid chaos. The Covid-19 Pandemic has hit everyone in some way, and in these tough times of turmoil, it's important we understand that everything will be ok, this time will pass, and we will be more united than ever after this crisis comes to an end. We also think it's important to promote positive mental health practices in order for all of us to find clarity amongst the chaos.
Mindful meditation is a self-care stress management method you can practice anywhere that will help ground you and become more resilient when you're feeling anxious or panicky. It is a therapeutic skill that, when learned and applied, can aide with well-being, stress management, anxiety and sleep hygiene, things we all need to deal with these days.
What is mindful meditation?
To be mindful is to be present, aware of your body and surroundings, without being overwhelmed. When immersed in a stressful and overstimulating environment or situation, we can go into an autopilot mode where we rush through tasks at a feverish pace without thinking about what we're doing. This often leads to over-reactions and over-sensitivity if something doesn't work out as we hoped because our brains are playing catch-up to our frenzied behavior; something has got to give.
By applying mindful meditation, you bring awareness to your to what you're experiencing through the use of your senses, thoughts, and emotions, activating parts of your brain that normally would be in 'autopilot mode' to prevent or subdue panic from suddenly becoming overwhelmed.
Who is it for?
One of the great things about mindful meditation is that anyone can practice it. There are no restrictions on age, gender, physical ability, or beliefs. We all have the ability to apply this simple practice that is proven to have wide-reaching benefits.
Where can I use it?
You can add this practice to your everyday routine by making simple changes like taking a moment to pause and breathe before you begin your day's tasks, setting a calmer and more centered tone to your morning tasks. You can also apply it in a safe but stressful situation like when you're feeling stir-crazy after being stuck inside all day.
When applied correctly, practicing mindful meditation puts a little distance between ourselves and our reactions, so our response is appropriate to the situation.
How can I apply this practice?
- Take time for yourself. You don't have to sit in a special meditation pose or be in a designated place; all you need is a little bit of time where you can allow yourself to focus.
- Breathe. It may sound silly, we are always breathing, but concentrate on breathing deep, measured breaths. It will serve as your cadence, calm you down, and connect your mind to your body. If you find your mind starts to wander during your practice, use your breath as your anchor and come back to it.
- Focus on the present moment. You don't have to 'quiet your mind', just concentrate on your breathing and let whatever is going on in the present moment be your focus rather than what you have to do, what you're going to do, what you should have done, what could have been better. Try and let all of that go and tune into yourself, your body and your breathing just at that moment.
- Soften your gaze. It's not necessary to close your eyes, especially if you're standing up and/or you're in public, but all whatever you can see in front of you to be there without focusing on it.
- Engage your body. we like to work from the bottom up. With every breath, imagine that breath running through an area of your body. For example, take a big breath while being mindful of your toes, feet, and ankles; when you let it out, this area tends to feel more relaxed. From there, continue working your way up until you reach your head. When you do, let out a big breath and focus on relaxing your entire body. Don't move on from an area until you are able to feel yourself relax on the exhale.
- Keep judgment out of the picture. It's important to stay positive but to also be realistic. If negative or simply irrelevant (to your practice) thoughts pop into your mind, try to ignore them. Many people tend to spiral when they feel overwhelmed and make the situation seem much worse than it is. Do you best not to get carried away in this manner and only concern yourself with what is going on in that moment--not what's going on around you, just with your physical self without judgment or prejudice.
- When you're ready, lift your gaze and slowly return to the moment as it is. Notice the environment around you as it is. Hopefully, in taking some extra time to yourself, you will be able to see the situation ahead of you more clearly and feel grounded and prepared to respond to the situation, whatever it may be appropriate.
Use this tool to prevent quarantine restlessness and stress, to optimize your well-being on a daily basis, and to help relax and connect the mind to the body so you can get to sleep when you need to.
We wish you all the best during these crazy times.
We will get through this together.
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