- Date : 08/06/2020
- Read: 5 mins
Mindfulness is more than a trend – it’s a more wholesome way to live your daily life.
With everyone trying to upskill themselves during the lockdown – taking online courses, turning into chefs, reading a dozen books – it’s easy to forget that what we’re going through right now is a global health crisis and not a time to be productive 24x7. It’s okay if you’re not doing any of these things because the truth is that working from home, doing unending chores, and just staying sane in these times is hard enough.
Feeling stuck because you haven’t been able to meet any of the goals you set for yourself when 2020 started? It’s normal – especially when you are isolated from your loved ones and overcome by a certain existential dread. At the same time, it’s not healthy or helpful. While having virtual dance parties with your friends and binge-watching your favourite shows can help you feel better at that moment, you need something more sustainable to get you through this trying time. Mindfulness may just be the answer!
1. Understand what mindfulness is
A lot of people use the term ‘mindfulness’ and it’s become a trend, but very few know what it really means. Mindfulness is the quality of being present in whatever you’re doing at that moment – eating, talking, relaxing, etc. It is being aware of your thoughts, free of all distraction, and staying away from any form of judgement, anxiety, or worry.
2. Know that meditation and mindfulness are different
While the terms may be used interchangeably, there’s a difference between mindfulness and meditation. Meditation is a temporary state of mind that lasts only when you’re meditating, whereas mindfulness is a way of living. You start by training your mind for short periods during meditation, but eventually your goal should be to practice mindfulness at all times.
3. Focus on reacting better to situations
The thing about mindfulness is that it won’t do away with stress or difficult emotions in your life – during the current lockdown or at other times. However, it will help you be more aware of your unpleasant thoughts and emotions so that you can handle the situation better. Once you have a calmer and clearer mind, anger, anxiety, stress, etc. can be managed more easily.
4. Set aside time for meditation
As discussed earlier, meditation is the starting point or foundation for mindfulness. So, set aside some time (say, 10–15 minutes) every day at a specific hour. Pick a suitable spot in your home and remember to wear comfortable clothing. Adopt a posture that makes you feel comfortable – whether it’s sitting in your favourite armchair or on the ground. Start by focusing on your breathing and being aware of how your body feels. You could use guided meditation apps to help you get started.
5. Quit trying to multitask
Multitasking may just be the biggest enemy of mindfulness. What’s more, multitasking is actually a myth. Your brain can’t perform more than one cognitive task at a time. So, when you think you’re multitasking, you’re actually constantly switching between two tasks. This reduces productivity and efficiency instead of helping you accomplish more. To be more mindful in your life, you need to give your full attention to the one thing you’re doing. For instance, if you’re eating food, focus on just that instead of watching a show or texting a friend.
6. Practice loving compassion
A lesser-known fact about mindfulness and meditation is that it’s not just about sitting in the lotus pose and focusing on breathing. Loving kindness or loving compassion is a technique where you visualise someone and send good wishes and positivity their way. You can focus on people you know, people you don’t know, people you like, or people you don’t like. At a time like this coronavirus pandemic, indulging in loving compassion can prove to be even more satisfying.
7. Take your time and customise
When it comes to mindfulness and meditation, one size cannot possibly fit all. There are several techniques, routines, and tips – and different things will work for different people. Depending on the kind of person you are, the lifestyle you lead, and the issues you face, the things that work for you may be very specific. For instance, some people like to indulge in yoga as a way to further their mindfulness journey. Others like to keep a gratitude journal or find a meditation partner. It will take some time, but you’ll figure out what works best for you.
At a time like this, if mindfulness is the only new thing you explore, that’s all right. In fact, that’s wonderful. It will help you navigate life better – not just during the pandemic but even after things have gone back to normal. Your quality of life, relationships, inner dialogue, and state of mind will all experience significant improvement, and the results will be only too evident. Here's how you can deal with the overflow of coronavirus news to avoid anxiety.