Photo by Yonas Bekele on Unsplash
Ever since the pandemic started making its way across the globe, cities have had no choice but to prioritize their people above all else by forcing a lockdown and putting people into quarantine. While most people complied, their safety came at the cost of their mental health. As the days rolled by, their homes felt like a prison. Without an update on the pandemic’s end, anxiety went up, and depression crept in. People started looking online for remedies or sought therapists, which led to the same solution to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is described as the practice of being aware of one’s body, mind, and feelings in the present moment. Perhaps the best way to describe mindfulness is that it is a form of meditation that allows people to clear their minds and just live in the moment, sensing and feeling everything around them without other thoughts. The practice involves breathing methods and guided imagery that allows people to relax their body and mind, reducing stress.
This form of meditation has been around for decades. After years of studies and trials, mindfulness has been proven to be effective in helping people deal with stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and even asthma and fibromyalgia. While doing so improves people’s attention, sleep, diabetes control, and decreases burnout from work.
Although mindfulness seems like a one-size-fits-all practice, there are different exercises for people to practice. Most of the activities draw very close similarities to meditation practices, with only the names and purpose making the most significant differences. The most common type of mindfulness meditation is breath awareness. It encourages people to breathe slowly, counting and focusing on each deep breath. This exercise reduces anxiety, improves concentration, and helps build greater emotional flexibility. Mindfulness meditation isolates people from the past and the future, keeping their minds fixed on what they are doing. This exercise can be practiced almost anywhere. However, one thing people have to remember is that their minds have to be clear of judgment. Breath awareness is a crucial part of mindfulness, allowing them to relax their bodies and ease their tension.
The application of mindfulness is most effective at home when doing simple tasks like washing dishes, cooking, or sweeping the floor. People working from home might be too busy with their jobs but can always take a minute of mindfulness throughout their routine. They can set a timer for one minute or longer and spend that time focusing on their breathing. Some people find it easier to perform this exercise with their eyes closed, but it depends entirely on them.
Many therapists like to suggest a poem by 13th-century Persian poet Jalaluddin Rumi when it comes to mindfulness. The poem, titled “The Guest House,” often serves as a reminder to greet each emotion they encounter as a guest into the moment. Regardless of whether the feeling is positive or negative, Rumi encourages people to embrace them as they eventually depart.
As the uncertainty of the pandemic’s end continues to loom over the world’s head, there is little that most people can do. The best thing they can do is stay at home and take care of themselves until a solution surfaces. Until then, mindfulness has been one of the most effective exercises they can utilize to care for their mental health.