Facing uncertainty during a pandemic can cause a great amount of anxiety and stress. Meditation can be a great outlet to relieve stress and improve focus for those now working from home. In fact, studies by Project Meditation show the practice improved anxiety levels by 60% and increased productivity by 120%. If meditation is something you’ve never tried before, these simple tips will give you the tools you need to become more mindful and alleviate anxiety.
Whether it’s a dining room chair, couch or even your bed, settle into a place that’s comfortable for you and free from distractions. Get into a seated or lying position where your spine is aligned and relax your neck and shoulders. From there, close your eyes, breathe naturally and begin to focus on the flow of your breath as it moves in and out through the tip of your nose.
Be patient with yourself
For newcomers, you may find that your mind is cluttered with random thoughts that distract you. This is perfectly normal, and to be expected. Mindfulness meditation is about acknowledging whatever comes up and consciously choosing to redirect your focus back to your breath. Be patient and friendly with yourself instead of turning to criticism. Know that with practice it will become easier to rein in your wandering mind.
Keep it short to begin
To be successful at meditating, you don’t need to begin with 30-minute sessions. Taking just 5 minutes out of your day to be in the present and aware is enough to enjoy the benefits of mindfulness. As you get comfortable, try increasing the frequency of meditation breaks or add on a few minutes and see how you feel. Some may find that 5 minutes is their sweet spot while others benefit from 15 minutes each day.
Try YouTube or an app for guidance
If you have a difficult time focusing, you may benefit from a guided session. There are many online resources like YouTube or apps like Insight Timer, Headspace and Calm that offer a variety of free meditation styles, courses, talks and music. An instructor can remind you to be present, release yourself from distractions and redirect your focus. Take the time to explore and see what works best for you.
Consistency is key when it comes to enjoying the benefits of meditation. Find a regular time that works for you and do your best to honor that each day. As you strengthen your skills, you’ll find it easier to stay present and enjoy the peace that releasing your thoughts can bring.
Whether you’re a master or only just beginning, meditation and mindfulness can help you feel relief during times of change.
M. Dawn Jonas, NMD, is a Naturopathic Physician at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM). Dr. Jonas empowers her patients to become the best version of themselves through gentle, compassionate, individualized medical guidance. SCNM is a school of medicine and health sciences grounded in naturopathic principles. Dedicated to the ideal that everyone deserves high-quality healthcare, they engage students in rigorous, innovative academic programs, discover and expand knowledge, and empower individuals and communities to achieve optimal health.