The world feels like such a chaotic place right now. Our worries and fears continue to grow as we learn more about the coronavirus.
It’s now been over a month of lockdown in Los Angeles. Schools, gyms, restaurants, bars and events – all closed. The meditation studio I work at is closed and my husband is currently working from home. I can only imagine the levels of anxiety that the most vulnerable people are facing during the pandemic. As well as the huge financial stress for low-income families, businesses, and freelancers – it seems everyone is facing a major impact in their lives.
This abrupt loss of income or worry about getting sick can cause anxiety and fear levels to surge.
So how do we manage this fear?
Leo Buscaglia once said, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” Stress leads to a chaotic mind, and a chaotic mind cannot think clearly.
Whenever I face life’s unpredictable challenges, I turn to meditations like these to help me feel calmer and more resilient. If you are new to mindfulness meditation I’ve listed three key benefits below (along with the science to support it) explaining why this style of meditation can help you right now. I also highly recommend you to join me in the video below as I guide you through a ten-minute calming session.
1) Mindfulness REDUCES Anxiety
Human beings are designed to think and solve complex problems in order to survive. The downside of this means that our thoughts can become obsessive, especially when we think about all of the possible outcomes. When we are stressed, our survival instincts force us to take dramatic action (fight, flight or freeze). These actions may have some benefits, such as: buying extra groceries, being cautious around large groups, washing hands frequently, or taking care of loved ones. But after accomplishing these tasks, you may find that your anxious feelings have not dissipated. In fact, you may feel as powerless as ever.
If you closely examined your anxious thoughts, you may notice they are rarely focused on the present. Mindfulness meditation is proven to help manage anxiety by bringing your mind back to what’s happening in the here and now. The goal isn’t to fix, manage, or control your feelings (that may actually make things worse).
Mindfulness is the practice of noticing your thoughts, accepting them, and then letting them go.
2) Mindfulness BOOSTS The immune system.
Several studies have shown that meditation can strengthen the immune system by reducing stress in the body, which therefore reduces blood pressure or internal inflammation. If you don’t learn how to manage your stress levels, it may negatively impact your immune system.
However, once you invite mindfulness into your life, you can also improve your sleep quality. Sleep is vitally important because it improves our functioning during waking hours, in addition to our overall health.
3) Improves well being and CONNECTION
During these uncertain times, we are instructed to self-isolate and distance ourselves from others. You may be stressed about money, or worried about contracting the virus, but social isolation may negatively affect us as well. Meditation can help manage depression and enhance feelings of connection.
If you’re feeling especially lonely during these times, it’s crucial to reach out to friends and family. Make an extra effort to FaceTime, Zoom or a traditional phone call. Connecting to other people is what makes us human and it’s healing, so don’t convince yourself that you must suffer through it alone.
In this video I guide you through a ten-minute MINDFULNESS MEDITATION. This is a simple awareness training that you could listen to every day. It’s designed to calm and regulate the nervous system and bring clarity into your life. AND during this time, I’m going to provide you with more FREE meditations virtually! So make sure you follow me on Instagram or YouTube.
Remember, it’s ok if your mind wanders! Our brains are complex processing machines; turning off thinking is an impossible task. The goal is to continue bringing awareness back to the moment, like gently calling back a puppy that keeps running away.
Grab a comfortable seat, a quiet space and enjoy.
I hope this was helpful!
Remember, you don’t need to be an expert in meditation to gain the benefits. Start small and continue building from there. Additionally, repetition is key to building up your mental muscle. 5-10 minutes each day is better than a single 30-minute session a week!
Meditation Music by Daniel Tai