What do fear, illness and social isolation have in common? They are all consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are all major risk factors for anxiety and depression. If lockdowns and family losses have you feeling blue, you are not alone. According to the Mental Health Foundation, rates of anxiety and depression have significantly increased during the pandemic.
These findings are alarming, but more alarm is not going to help. Your mental health demands a calmer approach, and Spirit Earth Magazine wants to help. With that in mind, let’s explore meditation.
Meditation is about being in control of yourself. You cannot change the global situation right now, but you can tend to your own body and mind. For this reason, there could not be a better time to begin or pick up your meditative journey.
For centuries, the practice of mindfulness has helped people reach a calmer state of being while providing an abundance of other scientifically backed benefits, as Prevention explains. If you are looking to reduce stress, this is one of the best ways. Research shows regular meditation reduces blood pressure, anxiety, depression and insomnia. Tension is bad for your health, but this calming of the mind and body helps get rid of it. You can ramp up the benefits even more by adding yoga to your regimen.
Meditation begins with breathing. It can be easy to overthink things when you first try meditating, but what you need to focus on is breathing. Ideally, find somewhere comfortable where you can relax your body. If you are able to turn on soothing music, do so. Lying down and timing yourself can also be helpful. Count the number of breaths in and out as you breathe. Slow down. If pesky thoughts try to interrupt you, just refocus on breathing. The side thoughts will eventually subside.
Creating Your Own Meditation Space
Silence really is golden. The truth is, most people crave alone time. Whether you want to dedicate more time to your meditation practice or you just want to hear yourself think, the requirement is the same. Southwood Living points out that you need a quiet space to reflect. When it comes to meditating, one of the greatest things you can do is create your own area for practicing. Having a dedicated meditation space that promotes positivity can remove obstacles some people initially face with meditation.
Decluttering Your Life
One of the biggest benefits you will experience on your meditative journey is the decluttering of your life. From your mind to your basement, making space for meditation can remove clutter that sneakily makes life more stressful. To inject positivity into your life, start by injecting fresh air into your living room. Open windows, organize the hallway closet and put away your laundry. A clean living space can make a world of difference in alleviating tension. Start small, and work your way through your home.
Making Time To Meditate
Even if breathing seems simple enough, it takes time. Indeed, many people blame busy schedules for keeping them from practicing mindfulness. The truth is, there will never be enough time in the day for you to address everything, but you should always include your mental health in the list of things you prioritize. Self-care has always been important for your overall well being, but in the time of COVID-19, it is no longer just important; it is essential. Meditation is a form of self-care. Treat it as such.
There is no doubt about it: Pandemics are perfect storms for mental illness. The good news is, meditation can be a sturdy lifeboat if you turn to it regularly. In times of stress, do not let your schedule or living space distract you from breathing. Your mind will be healthier for it.
Author: Emma Grace Brown
Look to Spirit Earth Magazine for more advice on living a healthy and spiritual lifestyle.