For many of us, this is a time of uncertainty, anxiousness, and fear. Never in our wildest dreams did we think that we’d be gearing up for holiday celebrations (virtual at that) during a pandemic. You may have lost your job or a loved one, or your life may have been turned upside down as you’re now working from home while homeschooling. Perhaps you’re putting your life on the line as you go into work each day. The COVID-19 pandemic has us all on edge.
How do you cope? Well, meditation is an option. It can help to ease your mind and reduce your stress. Jennie Lee, yoga therapist and award-winning author of Spark Change, has meditated daily for over a decade and has experienced a greater sense of peace and well-being because of it.
She says that taking five to 10 minutes of unplugged stillness does wonders for recalibrating the nervous system and making us more resilient and clear-headed. Meditation can make a world of a difference on your mental, emotional, and physical health.
“The benefits of meditation are numerous, from lowering stress levels and emotional swings to developing greater clarity and intuition and deepening faith in a power greater than yourself,” she says.
Lee suggests these simple meditation steps:
1. Find a comfortable cushion or chair to sit on. Sit with your back straight. Turn off your phone and set a timer for five minutes.
2. Inhale and tense your whole body. Then exhale, release and relax. Repeat five times.
3. Really relax your body but try to keep your back straight. Close your eyes and take 10 slow deep breaths. Then take 10 more slow breaths in this way: Inhale for a count of 10, hold for a count of 10, and exhale for a count of 10.
4. Let your breath return to normal. Breathing naturally, silently say to yourself “breathing in peace” with each inhale. Silently say with each exhale, “breathing out stress.” If your mind drifts to other thoughts, gently bring it back to your breath.
5. When the timer sounds, take another moment to set an intention for a peaceful day. Congratulate yourself on doing something wonderful for yourself and the world.
“I recommend you start with a short simple practice and build the habit of meditating, then when it's established in your routine, it's easy to increase over time,” she says. “Be patient and know that it’s a process and all effort is progress. Even five minutes a day will make a big difference over time.”
While meditation may not be able to change your circumstances, it can positively impact your perspective on life. Meditation can be a useful tool to chisel away at the stress and anxiety plaguing us at this time.
Learn more about meditation.