If you’re feeling extra anxiety these days due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, you’re not alone. This pandemic has us all facing more stress and uncertainty than usual. It also has many of us asking: How do we keep from spiraling into a full-blown panic? As we all face uncertainty about the novel coronavirus, there are measures we can take to help us. That’s why I’d like to share a few tips on how to practice mindfulness amid COVID-19.
Neuroscience has proved that meditating can help us regulate our own emotions so we can better pay attention to other people and act more altruistically. So it makes perfect sense that we should practice mindfulness in this scary time to learn how to serve others, and in turn, serve ourselves. Below are some tips to practice mindfulness without slipping into a panic vortex.
Take Deep Long Breaths
According to Harvard Health, our breath is a great place to practice mindfulness as it calms down the central nervous system. Start by taking at least three full breaths, counting to five with the inhale, and then counting to five again with the exhale. And with each exhale, intentionally release tension. You’ll notice anxiety starts to lessen as your breath releases worrying thoughts.
Take Note of the Sensations Around You
Come back to the sounds you’re hearing at the moment, or the sensation of your hands or feet tingling, or the sight of a tree or table. Tara Brach, Ph.D., psychologist, and teacher of meditation stresses the R.A.I.N. approach, Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture. It’s important to be honest with your emotions, and often that means recognizing, “Okay, I’m feeling fear.” Then, Dr. Brach explains, just let it be there. Don’t run away or try to control the problem. Investigate the feeling and then offer a soothing message to yourself to assuage that fear.
I’ve noticed that my brain can’t be anxious when it’s busy being grateful. When we do not practice gratitude, we can easily get fixated on threats and often overlook goodness and beauty in the world. So take the time to pause and savor the good in any situation. Is your self-quarantine promoting more quality time with family? Are you grateful for your health right now? Even amid situations of crisis, we can find many things to be grateful for in our lives.
Did you find these mindfulness tips helpful for you? For more tips on how to channel your inner calm, go to this link here. I’d love to hear your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. And be sure to subscribe to our Heart & Soul Newsletter to receive more helpful tips like these straight to your inbox.