Stress is a typical response to life-changing world events like COVID-19. However, even reasonable stress doesn't have to be overwhelming. A meditation practice can give you the tools you need to see your stress for what it is: valid, reasonable, and transient.
You can do a simple beginner meditation to learn to recognize how impermanent even intense emotions can be when we allow ourselves to let them go. Take several deep breaths, close your eyes, and imagine you're sitting by a stream. When you find your mind wandering toward a thought or emotion, imagine yourself tossing that emotion into the stream. Watch as it floats along the water's surface, is carried by the currents, and eventually disappears from view.
This meditation perfectly encapsulates one of the significant goals of meditation: Learning how to honor and acknowledge your emotions without clinging to them. Mindfulness practice also helps you to appreciate the world around you more and grow more aware of the things in life for which you're grateful. Mindful Way Coaching is pleased to help people foster this skill and create a meditation practice they can bring with them for life. Here are a few tips for getting started.
Create A Meditation Space
The traditional image we have of meditation — sitting quietly in a room while soft music plays and your thoughts clear — isn't the only form of meditation, but it's still a great place to start for many people. However, it can be highly challenging in the wrong environment. You need a space with subtle and calming energy.
If you've been stressed out at home lately, it might be worthwhile to do something to clear out negative energy, such as tidying up, letting in the fresh air, and burning sage. These acts can have significant psychological power, resetting your relationship with your space entirely.
Try Mindful Movement
When you can't focus during still meditation, mindful movement is often the answer. This is simply any form of movement or exercise during which you pay attention to how your body feels. This could be the sensation of your limbs moving through the air, the feelings of tension (or relaxation) throughout your body, or the relationship between your feet and the ground. Having something physical to focus on can help center you in a mindful space.
You can practice mindfulness during any form of exercise, but yoga is particularly well suited for it. Yogis already focus mindfully on their breathing, muscles, and the relationship between their bodies and the earth. Lean into this aspect of practice to get the full mindfulness benefits.
Bring Mindfulness to Daily Tasks
Last but not least, you always have the option to bring your mindfulness practice into your everyday routine. Try to think of something you often do, but usually do mindlessly. A good example is dishes — we all have to clean our plates, but we're often resistant to being present in the moment when we do. Next time you wash dishes, pay attention to the feeling of the water against your skin, the way the dishes look as you wash them, or the emotions that arise as you work. You might wind up surprised at what emerges from this mindful practice.
A daily mindfulness practice — whether that's quiet meditation, fostering the mind-body connection through exercise, or something else — will help make this time more manageable. When you learn to focus on the present moment, you will have the ability to sit beside your worries rather than let them rule you. Beautiful things are happening all around you: Learn to see them.
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