In its recent health guideline, the Harvard Medical School said yoga, meditation and controlled breathing are some of the tested ways to address anxiety issues related to the novel coronavirus. The pandemic has us all facing uncertainty and then there is isolation anxiety. Usually, being at home on a workday is a good feeling, but when there is a curfew in the city and all that you have access to is news of growing number of covid-19 cases, it needs some strong coping skills.
Focus in silence
Believe us, meditation can be your guiding force. But how does one start? If you are a beginner, we’ve got you covered. “One could practice mindfulness by becoming aware of the present moment. In simple words whatever mundane chores you do, do them with full awareness. For example, when you brush your teeth, your mind should just be in that act and not thinking of what needs to be done later in the day,” explains Hugo (Hartaj), a yoga and meditation teacher.
When you follow this, you become one with the act and the present moment; that’s meditation. “Similarly, when you do anything, be it cooking, cleaning, dancing or reading, be fully engrossed in it and love the act fully,” he adds. Once you learn this meditation in motion, you can graduate to sitting in meditation. There, according to Hugo, one may sit in silence, observe the sounds around you and feel your breath. “With time and practice, one reaches a spot where the ‘monkey in the mind’ goes to sleep and you reach a place of ‘no mind’.”
The key is regular practice and persistence. Practicing it daily even for five to ten minutes will take you a long way.
Honey Grewal, a meditation facilitator, says one can begin with visual meditation. “Firstly, imagine that your body is made up of light; then visualise the sun right above your head, showering its light onto you and filling up each cell of your body with vital energy. Do this for 10 minutes and gradually increase the time,” she says.
Likewise, there is sound meditation wherein you sit quietly and focus on any sound present around you. It could be birds, a fan, a dog or even your own breath. “In sound meditation, one can even put some healing, soft sound or mantra on their phone. Just listen to it for as long as you can.”
Honey, however, offers a word of caution. “When you meditate, it is important to not supress the thoughts. Just let them come and go. Your focus should not change; it is either on the visual or sound. Eventually, the thoughts will stop.”
Honey sheds light that meditation is especially important in times like these when staying indoors can cause a lot of mind clogging and too much fearful thinking can negatively affect the immune system, therefore one must have faith in their body and know that the mind is a powerful tool.
Control the mind
While some of us fear losing our jobs or fear getting affected by the virus or are stressed about our families, but is any of this under our control? “What is in our control is following the advisory of the authorities. What is also in our control is working on ourselves internally. With all of us locked-down, it’s good time to focus on our physical and mental health,” says Rabiya Gill, a life-coach.
She says one of the best ways to deal with mental and emotional discomfort is to meditate. “Meditation helps you calm the mind, brings stillness, helps reduce BP and heart rate; it helps provide proper oxygen to the body, brings clarity of mind, facilitates decision-making and keeps the body healthy.”
A beginner, Rabiya adds can start meditation by focusing on the breath. “To avoid distractions, sit in a silent place, close your eyes and you can even listen to calming music. But the key is to focus on the breath. Take deep breaths and observe the air going in and out of your body. Keep breathing and allow yourself to feel the breath. If you feel distracted by your thoughts, slowly just start observing them instead of trying to push them away. Make friends with them.”
Last, but not the least, count your blessings… it calms your mind.
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