We’re all feeling anxious right now as the Coronavirus health crisis continues to shake up our daily lives. This is a normal response to these crazy times. But for those who maintain a mindfulness practice, there’s an understanding that times like these provide an opportunity for our innate goodness, kindness, and compassion to shine and carry us through. It is by connecting with these traits that we can support each other during this health crisis.
So, with that in mind, here are a few simple ways you can support yourself, your community and even the world during these challenging times.
How to Pause, Breathe, and Connect
Pause and Breathe
Every time you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, or when you hear a new update about the virus, pause for a moment. Take a deep breath and tune into your body. Notice what is happening in your body at this moment. How are you feeling emotionally and physically? Now take another deep breath and see if you can release any tension you may be holding onto.
Noticing that your heart is racing with fear can give you enough distance from that fear to take some deep breaths and find an outlet that soothes, calms, and interrupts the anxiety. This outlet might include contacting a loved one, listening to a favorite song, going for a walk outside, doing something creative, or exercising.
If deep breathing isn’t your thing, try the “feel your feet” technique when feelings of anxiety or panic set in. Simply notice your feet connecting with the ground or surface below you, or the sensation of your feet in your shoes, and see if you can breathe slowly and naturally while connecting with this sensation.
Find ways to connect
Social distancing is a compassionate response in times like these, but physically distancing ourselves from one another doesn’t mean we can’t be connected. A few suggestions might be video chat parties, calling and checking in with family or friends, or writing thank you cards for your local hospitals or first responders.
Shifting your attention from “me to we” will help you immeasurably. If you are healthy and relatively secure, focus on what you can do for others to relieve their hardships.
Offer compassion to yourself, your community and the world
You may be asking, how can compassion help in times like these? Compassion and kindness can be a great source of resilience. To see them in action in times of crisis and fear can also be a source of hope for many. In fact, the University of Wisconsin Madison did a study where they were able to link behavioral changes as a result of practicing compassion, or loving-kindness meditation, with measurable changes in brain activity, shedding light on why compassionate thoughts may lead to compassionate deeds. If there ever was a time when the world needed love and compassion, it’s now.
Here’s a short compassion practice for you to help cultivate compassion and connection.
Sending much love to you, my friends. Be safe, be well.