How mindfulness can help during the Coronavirus pandemic
Mindfulness is the process, grounded in modern psychology, of being wholly and deliberately present in the moment, without judgement or distraction. By developing mindfulness skills, we learn to be more present in everyday life, and less prone to reactive or unconscious behaviour.
Phrased another way, mindfulness means we are more aware and in control of our emotions.
Some call it Zen, calm, or being ‘centred’. Whatever you call it, mindfulness is what gives us indispensable mental buoyancy in times of stress – such as dealing with a global pandemic. By acknowledging, processing, and consciously responding to negative emotions like fear and anxiety, we can strengthen our minds to get through the pandemic one day at a time.
How to develop mindfulness during Coronavirus
Meditation, yoga and visualisation have helped many Australians develop mindfulness. They are certainly not the only techniques: in fact, there are no rules when it comes to mindfulness, so you are encouraged to find the training that works for you. Remember that mindfulness is based in psychology. Like Counselling, it requires an individual approach to be effective.
If you’re new to meditation, easing into the practice with a few short guided meditations is a great way to get started. There are lots of free smartphone apps available, most of them backed by leading Australian psychologists. You can find our top 5 recommendations here.
One technique you will encounter in guided meditation is visualisation. Picturing your emotions – as passing traffic, for example, which one leading mindfulness app encourages – helps to hold a steady image in your mind when things get turbulent.
A state of Zen/centred/aware/mindful/calm cannot come when you are feeling frazzled. From exercise to getting enough rest, mindfulness techniques go far beyond daily practices like meditation. After all, the goal is to become more present in every moment of every day.
Take advantage of this time when life is moving a little slower. Don’t be tempted to use all your free time trying to master a new skill or create art that changes the world. Instead, take a few moments every day to stop and observe your surroundings, while also checking in with your emotions. This is mindfulness incarnate.
Skills for your future self
Developing mindfulness during Coronavirus will not only help you navigate the times of stress (both present and soon to arrive) but also to face challenges later in life. Integrating the new awareness into your daily life, and you’ll soon reap the benefits of a more conscious and aware outlook on life.