With the pandemic raging around the world, much of our time is now spent at home. However, spending most of our waking hours in close proximity to other household members can make it feel like there’s a significant lack of “me time”. Combine this with the coronavirus’ impact upon most businesses and you have a volatile mix of external stressors. Although the world longs for happier times, it would be unwise to lax on social distancing procedures until a solid vaccine is developed. To help us through this challenging period, consider adopting a daily mindfulness routine to relax and unwind.
What is it?
Psychology Today defines mindfulness as “a state of active, open attention to the present. This state encompasses observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad.”
What does it do?
According to mindfulness expert Patricia Karpas, grounding ourselves in the present helps us to approach situations more thoughtfully than reactively. “These reactions are often based on something that happened years ago,” she explains. “The practice of being still and letting go… helps our minds react and respond more productively.”
How do you do it?
It’s simple! Regardless of what you are doing – eating, walking or writing a report – focus entirely on what you are doing so that you can savour the tastes, the sights or the moment. While doing so, pay attention to your body and your surroundings – feel your muscles moving and the sensations upon your skin without reacting to them.
Make a habit of observing your breathing (i.e. its depth and rhythm). Keeping track of your breathing occupies your conscious thought – temporarily freeing yourself from negativity that may be plaguing your mind.
While we can’t do anything about the virus, we can control our thoughts and our connections with the people around us. A few deep breaths and grounded thoughts a day keep the stress away!
For a more in-depth look on how to practise mindfulness, check out this article from Huffpost.