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A Dose of Mindfulness While We’re Cooped Up

We’re a few weeks into physical distancing and shelter at home orders, with at least a few more ahead of us. We can be forgiven for feeling a little stir-crazy and having some low moments. While the collective action is saving lives and allowing frontline health workers to have a fighting chance against Covid19, there is no doubt all this inactivity and uncertainty can be mentally taxing on an individual level.

It’s a perfect time to practice a little mindfulness. Virtuoso wellness community stalwart Miraval invites us to take the Quarantine Challenge by establishing a screen/life balance for ourselves. Plan blocks of time during the day to go outside or engage in a focused activity rather than scouring the internet or watching TV for the latest headlines. The news will still be there at whatever hour you set aside for that. In the meantime, constantly stimulating your mind with stressful news you can do nothing more about is unhealthy.

“‘Being informed’ doesn't mean we need to keep our anxiety levels sky high all the time by staying constantly tuned in. And being physically isolated doesn't mean that we need to feel emotionally apart,” writes Catherine Price, a Miraval collaborator and author of “How to Break Up With Your Phone.”

Since most human activity has shut down, the world is a little quieter. The sounds of birds chirping can be heard in the streets of Manhattan. Canyon Ranch recommends taking advantage of this to embrace the silence. Lives that are normally filled with bouncing from one activity to the next are now more open to quiet reflection. Treat this as an opportunity.

“Silence can make us uncomfortable because we’re so used to distracting ourselves from what we’re feeling — from difficult emotions like fear, resentment or anger,” says Stephanie Ludwig, director of spiritual wellness at Canyon Ranch Tucson. “When we’re truly silent, we have to face whatever is inside of us. If we really knew the blessings that come with silence, we would definitely make more time for it.”

Take time out each day to practice silence, even if it’s just a 60-second meditation. A focus on your breathing and calming your mind can reduce stress, improve your mood and boost energy and immunity.

Confronting our fears and embracing the fact that we can’t control or even know what happens next will allow us to focus on what we can control that will improve our lives and mind set.

“Take a moment to observe the present situation, to acknowledge WHAT IS, and allow your mind to pause as you take a breath and then another one. Try not to jump straight into how you want things to be. You can witness the situation as it is, is from a place of neutrality, without attachment or expectation,” advises Six Senses collaborator Dr. Alberto Villoldo, a psychologist and medical anthropologist. “Then you will glimpse the gifts and treasures that await the cool-headed. Maybe it’s rediscovering your family or your spouse, maybe it is seeing new possibilities for humanity and for your creativity.”

Settling our minds will help us sleep better, which will boost immunity and productivity. None of us has ever experienced something quite like this, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Practicing mindfulness can help us find the positivity that will get us through and create a better world once we can move freely around it once more.


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