How in the world could mindfulness meditation help me in a time like this?!
First of all, what is mindfulness meditation? Mindfulness is a type of meditation that is focused on the present, and specifically on awareness of physical and emotional sensation. More and more research is showing the powerful benefits of mindfulness for reducing stress and anxiety, improving mental health, and even improving social relationships.
How can mindfulness be helpful right now? Well, mindfulness won’t prevent you from getting sick, nor will it speed your recovery (as far as we know!). But that doesn’t mean mindfulness doesn’t have a an important role to play. This is a time with unique challenges and stressors. And we all know stress can have many ill effects on our physical and emotional state.
While everything is scary and uncertain right now, there will be a time when things return to normal. A lot of anxiety comes from thinking too much about the past or the future. Since mindfulness helps us live in the present, it can help to reduce the anxiety of uncertainty. Focusing on keeping our stress low will improve our physical and emotional health over the long term, and make it easier to re-adapt to our normal lifestyles.
So how do you get started with mindfulness? It takes only a few minutes. Try it! Take a moment to become aware of your surroundings. If you’re sitting down, notice the sensation of your body in the chair. What do you hear? What do you smell? Now, take a few deep breaths. Notice the sensation of air moving in your body. Where do you feel it? Maybe in your nose, maybe in your chest or stomach. Take a few more deep breaths, and continue noticing those sensations. If your mind wanders, gently pull it back to the present moment. Congratulations! You have just done a mindfulness meditation! Do you feel any calmer?
Here are some further resources to get your started:
Free Audio Resources for Mindfulness Meditation by Mindful.org
Ultimate List of Free Meditation Resources from the Muse
Mindfulness Resources from Stanford Medicine’s WellMD