We learn many life lessons from human interaction, but don’t enjoy a spiritual re-tune unless we work on ourselves alone. Since many of us are experiencing lock-down (enforced separation) because of Covid-19, now is the ideal time to explore and expand our spirituality.
Increase a sense of calm
It’s normal to experience anxiety during a pandemic. Witnessing other people struggle is distressing, and we may fear for our health and that of our loved ones.
Your anxiety may also escalate if the current state of fear in society reminds you of a previous experience. Increasing a sense of spiritual calm amid the chaos will help you cope.
Many people are in fight-or-flight mode. A little stress, or even a lot, at the right time — so you can run in the opposite direction when chased by a tiger, for instance — is useful. Constant anxiety, though, weakens your wellbeing.
Luckily, a seed of serenity waits to be nurtured within you. Two essential practices can help you de-stress and boost calmness: Mindfulness and meditation.
When you’re mindful, your mind is full. Not of any old information, but with thoughts you want to escalate.
So, you might identify behaviors that expand calmness, like listening to classical music or tending your garden, and be mindful to enjoy them daily. Carry out calmness-inducing habits when stressful thoughts threaten to overwhelm, and as you go about your day.
You can also be mindful while you carry out calmness–enhancing behavior. When you listen to music, for example, close your eyes and look at the movie screen inside your mind. What can you see?
Can you pick out specific instruments? Imagine the shape and texture of what you hear?
Mindfulness and rising anxiety from the past
If painful memories and emotions arise, and it feels wrong to distance yourself from them with distraction, acknowledge them. Then focus on what your emotions (and the experiences that provoke them) teach you.
Studies show people manage painful memories best when they are mindful to identify how their past assists personal growth and increases the qualities they cherish.
Maybe, for instance, living through grueling times increased your resilience and compassion. Perhaps it showed you how to throw off life’s petty illusions and prioritize kindness, understanding, and love. If so, these are the characteristics needed most in this moment.
Note, if your mind links old experiences with the one you’re having at present, it’s letting you know not only have you survived a difficult event that shares similarities to the current one before, but your insights are necessary now.
There are several kinds of meditation from which to choose. No doubt, you’re most familiar with seated meditation, but you can also enjoy walking meditation, or another meditative exercise if you prefer.
One of the easiest forms involves following your breathing as you take deep slow breaths through the nose and exhale via your mouth (or nose if it feels better to do so).
Explore what success and happiness mean to you
Most people’s lives are busy with responsibilities, and they have little time to evaluate their priorities. Now, though, you might consider what success and happiness mean to you.
You may strive to build a comfortable income, for instance, but what’s behind your endeavors? Do you hope to increase security? Gain more free time with loved ones? Enjoy a meaningful career?
And what is meaningful to you? Serving others? Contributing to human understanding? Making life easier for humankind? Or helping plants and animals, perhaps? Exploring the world? Finding joy in ordinary things? Increasing love?
Answer these questions, and any more that arise as you contemplate the meaning of success and happiness and you’ll know what your priorities are and how best to live.
Expanding compassion is a terrific way to reduce anxiety. It stops you focusing on your fears and shifts your mindset to other people’s care and safety. It also enhances wellbeing because when you summon love for others, your feel-good hormone production increases and you feel better.
Acts of compassion include using technology to keep in touch with people you care for during this difficult time — phone, email, social media networks, and Skype spring to mind — and offering practical assistance, such as looking up helpful information online for people who might find doing so hard or impossible themselves.
Let worried people talk and listen to them without judgment. It might be tempting to tell someone they are overreacting, for example, but this will undermine their feelings. Communicating in a non-judgmental way validates their emotions.
While the coronavirus rages, why not take positive action and increase love and understanding? Develop a spiritual outlook on events and stress management, and you’ll get through the experience with greater wellbeing and wisdom.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak and Your Mental Health
Remember, self-care includes emotional wellbeing
You Can Stay Calm in a Crisis
Sometimes life throws us into chaos, but we can choose how to respond
Copyright © 2020 Bridget Webber. All rights reserved