How to Start a Mindfulness Practice During COVID-19
If you’ve ever thought about starting a meditation practice, today is a perfect day to start. With all the uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and strong opinions during this COVID time, it is super normal that you might be feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. Along with all the rest of us!
Now, more than ever, it’s important to learn how to calm your racing mind, release tension and tightness in the body, and let go of negative and stressful feelings and self-talk.
If you find yourself “what if’ing”, feeling consumed with worry, wondering when it will all be over, or unsettled by all the change. Mindfulness can help you stay present to the moment. So, you don’t get sucked into over-worry and ruminating about all the possibilities of what can or might happen in the future.
Mindfulness can help you to find moments of peace and clarity.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about paying attention, on purpose in this very moment. Deliberately choosing to focus your awareness without judgement. Allowing your thoughts and feelings to arise while you just notice them. And then you turn back to your breath, mantra or whatever one thing you chose to focus on.
How to get started
You can practice mindfulness, by finding a quiet comfortable space where you won’t be interrupted. Get seated upright, so you won’t fall asleep. Relax your body and settle into your posture. Notice where your breath is (usually in the chest or belly) and know that it is doing just fine. There is no need to change it or judge it. Notice your body and how it feels as you breath. Allow any sensations to just be there.
When thoughts come up, which they will, notice them and come back to your body. Come back to your breath.
And, check YOU out! You’re meditating.
If you’re new to meditation or just need a bit of support, you might prefer a guided meditation. There are tons of apps that you can use such as Calm, Balance or Headspace. My favourite is Insight Timer. You can choose a topic such as sleep, self-esteem, or stress. Then pick how long you want to meditate. And press play.
How to keep it going
Mindfulness is called a practice, because it takes regular consistent practice for you to get the greatest benefit. This is not a 1-shot deal.
Research shows that 20 minutes a day 5 -7 days a week can drastically reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. And, it can even reset your happiness set-point. This means, your overall sense of well-being, resilience and happiness become easier to attain and maintain.
No wonder why monks seem so calm, joyful and patient.
If this feels like too much of a challenge start with 3, 4 or 5 minutes a day. I found 4 research articles that say, 3-minutes of guided meditation for 5 consecutive days can improve focus, slow down overthinking, make it easier to challenge negative thoughts, and improve sleep.
ONLY 3 minutes for 5 days! That’s mind blowing!
Give it a shot and let me know your results.
Contact me if you want to jumpstart your meditation practice, or if you’d like to learn more ways to manage fear, anxiety, worry and stress.