If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or nervous about all of the unknowns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, just know that you’re not alone. As many individuals shift to working from home and adjust to practicing social distancing, many people are struggling to maintain a healthy mindset without going stir crazy. Practicing mindful meditation while at home enables you to fixate less on the past or the future and instead focus on what is truly important -- being present in the moment. Here are four simple tips to practice mindful meditation while at home.
It may sound obvious but too often we forget to take in deep, controlled breaths when we start to become overwhelmed with worry. Try inhaling through your nose for five seconds, then exhaling through your mouth for five seconds. Do this a few times. With each exhale, try to release any tension in your body. Relax your shoulders. Relax your face muscles. Repeat this until your body feels lighter again.
Recognize Your Anxiety
Part of anxiety’s power comes from our fear of it. Instead of letting it overpower you, choose to acknowledge it. Recognize it. Where does the anxiety live in your body? Does it reside in the pit of your stomach? Is it causing your heart to race? Recognizing it and its impact on your body will help to diminish its power.
Be One with Nature
It can be easy to feel down when one is cooped up inside all day. When you can, take a moment to change your scenery and go outside for a bit. Being in nature helps you to refocus, calm down and ground yourself. Try walking barefoot in the grass, taking time to notice how it feels on the bottom of your feet. Listen to the birds chirping in the trees. Try being fully present in the moment.
Use Your Imagination
When you start to feel overwhelmed, utilize your imagination to take you somewhere soothing. This could be walking by a waterfall, wandering through the forest or strolling along the beach. Use all of your senses to bring yourself to that place. What do you smell? What does the breeze feel like? What sounds do you hear? Use this skill, along with controlled breathing, to calm your nerves until you feel better.
Utilizing basic mindful meditation skills will help you to overcome any anxiety you may feel during this uncertain time. However, if mindful meditation is not enough, there are plenty of mental health professionals, such as those at Valbuena 360º Wellness Center, who are offering telephone consultations who are ready, trained and experienced to help you get through this.
Dr. Paul Valbuena is a double-board certified psychiatrist and founder of Valbuena 360° Wellness Center. He specializes in addiction, adult, child and adolescent psychiatry and his practice focuses on many mental wellness issues including addiction, anxiety and depression. For more information, visit www.valbuenawellness.com