Mindfulness During this Pandemic – Maintaining Your Mental and Physical Health
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Mindfulness during this pandemic
Cast your mind back a few weeks or months and imagine someone telling you the following: dining out, exercising at the gym or seeing family and friends in person will be impossible, all public gatherings will be cancelled, hundreds of millions of people around the world will be out of work and you would have to work from home. Would you have believed what you were hearing? Everything feels unbelievable and overwhelming. It feels as if we have walked into an old recurring nightmare, one we’ve seen before, but only in movies.
This pandemic has affected us all, if not infected us, profoundly changing our way of living. Remote working, reduced work hours and income, social distancing, isolation and uncertainty are indeed stressful. Most of us are having to make important adjustments. And because we are creatures of habit, these adjustments can be hard. Also, we are afraid we or a family member might get sick. We are also stressed by continuous exposure to negative and sad news, often spouting contradictory predictions and recommendations coming from different sources.
We humans, hate the unknown and a limited sense of control over our lives and this pandemic has filled our life with a lot of unknowns. This can take a toll on our mental and physical health.
I know that this isn’t always easy, and I want to support you, so I will describe in this article a few practical things you can do to take care of your own wellbeing and that of your loved ones, mindfulness tools and techniques, evidence-based approaches that will help you manage these hard times.
What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the ability to be in the present, to rest in the here and now, fully engaged with whatever we’re doing in the moment:
- Remember that you can’t control what you don’t know, and worrying isn’t an effective remedy for fear. The solution is to replace fear and despair with a focus on your wellness. I encourage you to build a strong immune system through exercise, healthy nutrition, stress reduction, smoking cessation, optimism and more.
- Practice optimism and control your mind! Optimism improves your health, as studies suggest. An optimistic mindset is associated with lower cardiovascular risk and promotion of optimism and reduction in pessimism may be important for preventive health.
How can you do that? ”When something bad happens to you, you have about five seconds in which to decide how you’re going to frame it”, says Bill Irvine, PhD, philosopher and author of The Stoic Challenge . “When possible, when something unexpected or negative happens, try to tell a joke about it—try to turn it into a joke,” Irvine says. “It’s very, very difficult to get angry when you’re laughing.” Another solution is storytelling framing: imagine yourself wiser, telling the story of right now to somebody else. “Okay, do I really want to throw a temper tantrum about this? Do I want to keep making impulse trips to the grocery store because I’m bored? Should I dismiss this as ‘an overreaction’ and be on the wrong side of history?” Consider what choices you ultimately want to be part of your story.“Act as if you were someday going to tell the truthful story of how you handled the pandemic, and do your best in your daily actions to make it a really great story,” says Irvine.