4 Must-Have Mindfulness Tips for the Pandemic
“When we go through times of crisis,” says Julie, “it can feel like we just have to push our way through in order to make it out the other side. It’s exhausting! In times like these, yes, we need stamina… but we also need coping strategies that help to soothe us right here, right now. Mindfulness is a highly effective tool that is easy for anyone to learn and use. It has saved my life in the past when I navigated hardship and chaos, and it has proven to be an invaluable resource during this pandemic.”
Julie shares four mindfulness tips anyone can use right now to help reduce feelings of depression, fear, panic, and overwhelm and increase feelings of calm and peacefulness.
- Name it to tame it: Sometimes we’re so busy fighting with how we feel that we don’t pause long enough to actually acknowledge our feelings. Call out your emotion for what it is: “Oh, that’s anger. That’s resentment. That’s worry.” This simple step begins to calm your brain down and give you some space around your feelings.
- Feel the emotion in your body: When we feel things intensely, we often feel them in more than our emotional reality. Strong feelings also manifest physically for most people. Can you feel where the emotion is in your body? Do you feel it in your stomach? In your jaw? In your neck? Where do you feel tension or discomfort?
- Use gentle touch: Place your hands over the location where you feel the emotion in your body. Imagine warm oil or a warm compress opening up the constricted area. If that doesn’t work, you can place your hands anywhere on your body that you find comforting, such as over your heart, on your belly, cradling your face, around your shoulders in a hug, etc. When you give yourself this soothing touch, you are loving yourself. This takes you out of reactivity mode and into a more loving, calm space. You are releasing the nurturing effects of oxytocin and endorphins, which calm your system.
- Change the channel: If this had been step one, you might have checked out of this practice then and there! Changing the channel can be quite a challenge when we’re in the heat of intense feelings. That’s why it’s worth your time to take the other steps here first. Give yourself some distance from the intensity before you try to change the channel. Then, when you’re ready, pull up a wonderful memory and marinate in those feelings. Install the goodness in your body and mind, pushing the mental state into a neural trait so the happy bridge gets reinforced in your brain.