COVID-19: Tips for Mindfulness & Coping with Anxiety
Amid ever-changing information around the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are experiencing heightened stress and anxiety.
"Anxiety is not right, and it is not wrong. It is just part of the human experience," says Kristin Lothman, a mind-body counselor with Mayo Clinic's Department of Integrative Medicine and Health. "Healthy anxiety calls us into action to be safe, to take care of the people that we love and to arrive at the present moment experience with resilience."
"There are many strategies to manage anxiety," Lothman says. "I recommend developing a self-care practice. Elements of that could include journaling, exercise, yoga, meditation and prayer."
To calm the body and mind, Lothman suggests a guided meditation – a practice of relaxed concentration where you follow the instructions of a narrator related to breathing and imagery. Breathing exercises are also valuable, especially for younger children.
“You might practice these three or four times a day. Maybe not the entire meditation but even if you can get in 10 breathes that may be enough to notice a shift in your inner experience,” Lothman says. (Continue Reading from Mayo Clinic)
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Meditation originally was meant to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. These days, meditation is commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction. Meditation is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine. Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process may result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being. (Continue Reading from Mayo Clinic)
How Does Mindfulness Work?
Some experts believe that mindfulness works, in part, by helping people to accept their experiences—including painful emotions—rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance. It’s become increasingly common for mindfulness meditation to be combined with psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy. This development makes good sense, since both meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy share the common goal of helping people gain perspective on irrational, maladaptive, and self-defeating thoughts.
There is more than one way to practice mindfulness, but the goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment. All mindfulness techniques are a form of meditation. (Continue Reading from Help Guide)