COVID-19 Survival Guide: Meditation
It’s good that we have found a new way to function at home and with family members present. Creating a new “normal” or way to manage our time may feel more challenging as these weeks crawl by. There are strategies to help cope with the challenges, distractions, and stress that we may feel now.
Let’s discuss the benefits of meditation. We are usually skeptical when meditation is mentioned, but let’s look deeper into the process and benefits. Meditation is a tool that enhances mindfulness and self-awareness. Meditation brings us into the present moment. The beauty of the present moment is that every situation is manageable when experienced one moment at a time. We create anxiety, worry, doubt, and stress when we are looking back into the past or into the future. Meditation allows us to keep us focused in the here and now and that is truly the only moment we can control. This does not mean that every moment will be pleasant and happy. There will always be times when our situation is uncomfortable or stressful. Learning to meditate helps us to learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Meditation helps us to find peace in each moment through acknowledging and accepting a situation. We learn to experience our thoughts and feelings without reaction. As we meditate we acknowledge our thoughts and then let them go as we exhale. It is important to realize meditation takes effort and practice. It is best to start with a small dose; a minute or two at a time is a good start. Short meditations may be enough for you or you may need a longer practice. There are many ways to slow down enough to notice your thoughts and emotions and become comfortable in the moment.
One of the simplest places to start is with a short-guided meditation. Guided meditation is listening to someone to help you through a meditation. There are several apps with guided meditations; Calm and Insight Timer are both good places to look. Choose a short time to start and settle in and begin. The best way to start meditation is to find a place in your home where you can spend a few uninterrupted minutes. Move into a comfortable position, either seated or lying down. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Begin to breathe in and out of the nose and start to follow the breath allowing your inhale and exhale to lengthen out a little. Settle into a comfortable breathing pattern. If you are listening to a guided meditation you will begin by being guided into the breath. Choose one that is a few minutes and when it is complete notice how you feel. Perhaps you may choose a word or a statement to inhale and exhale with, for example, “I am happy and healthy.” Continue to repeat the mantra over and over.
Another easy place to begin is walking meditation. Find a nice place for a walk. Unplug from any music or podcasts for this walk. As you walk listen to the sounds around you, really observe the beauty in nature and keep your attention focused on your surroundings. As you walk, breathe and observe the present moment, notice how you feel and hopefully, your mind has relaxed and enjoyed the release as well!
Try meditation for a few minutes this week and really take time to notice the way you feel afterward. Enjoy the blissful feeling of relaxation!