Mindfulness is something that has been in the news a lot in recent years – bookshops have shelves full of books on it. How can it help us now in this Covid 19 crisis?
Mindfulness is about attention and focus. Our lives have been disrupted by all the changes to work and home life since the virus has arrived in our communities. There is a lot to think about: how we reorganise ourselves, our families and our work. How we process the feelings we are having about being unable to visit our older relatives or what it is like to have our young adult children back at home. How we manage staying healthy in this new situation : diet , sleep, and exercise.
Health care workers are at the front of my mind most of all, facing long days and very challenging provision of care for Covid19 patients, as well as the above.
Mindfulness is paying specific focussed attention to ourselves each day. That is: without interruptions from our phone or computer and away from anyone else. It will increase your self-awareness and your resilience if you give time to it.
So here are some tips to help you do it.
Take time to focus each day – about 10 minutes. Create a quiet time for yourself (no devices, on your own in a separate room). Put both feet on the floor, standing or sitting, straighten your back and breathe deeply and steadily.
Ask yourself: how you are feeling physically – does your body feel OK – can you feel any tensions anywhere – does part of you feel unwell?
If your mind wanders bring it back to your breathing, deep and steady.
Notice how your mind is – are there thoughts that come up. Are there worries? Are there good feelings. What does your inner voice tell you? Maybe your mind is empty. We are all different, so any of these may happen – there is not a perfect way to do this.
Notice how you are feeling – are you tired ? energetic ? positive? Sad? Frustrated ? What ?
For all of these, there is no perfect answer, no right way to be – the essential is to notice how you are. You may have found it difficult to stay focussed on your breathing or that your mind is very busy – some days will be like this and some will be easier.
After your ten minutes of focus on yourself, you might write a note or two to help you remember or take action based on some of the self-reflection you have done. It is not essential though.
This practice will build your self-awareness enabling you to tune in better to your emotions and thoughts. If you are more aware of your emotions you will be more tuned in to the positive or negative impact you may have on others around you. It can be supported by taking more time out from electronic devices, exercise and good sleep.
I wish you well with trying this out and offer a photo of the beach to help your meditation.