Grief Has Touched Us All During This Pandemic. Can Mindfulness Help?
With an uncertain and seemingly dire future clubbed with endless physical, social, emotional, and financial threats, it is almost impossible not to start spiraling.
As we cross the 1 year marker of COVID 19 Pandemic, multiple studies show prevalent surge in stress, anxiety and depression. Majority of the nations have reported of experiencing collective trauma at this point. According to a recent meta-analysis report, a significant impact on psychological well-being during COVID-19 was observed in India as common adverse outcomes were stress (61%), psychological distress (43%), anxiety (34%), depression (33%), and sleep disturbances (27%). Quite evidently the outbreak and the unprecedented environment is impacting humanity because no one was built to endure this level of stress and anxiety for this length of time.
With an uncertain and seemingly dire future clubbed with endless physical, social, emotional, and financial threats, it is almost impossible not to start spiraling. As a result people are more vulnerable than ever and are often at a breaking point. Prolonged stress and depression not only worsens the mental health but also has a cascading effect on general health. This necessitates fostering holistic wellbeing appreciating the multidimensional physical, mental, social and spiritual health of individuals.
Mindfulness: Incorporating Mindfulness, meditative practices in daily regimen can be of tremendous value and help during these trying times to alleviate mental sufferings and promote better mental and physical health. Practicing Mindfulness helps us acknowledge the situation while still remaining unfazed. It’s an age old, tried and tested medium of building healthy coping skills against anxiety and stress and bringing one’s self back to a centred calm. Mindfulness also helps one to perceive things from a non-judgmental perspective and thus feel compassion towards oneself and others.
India thrives on spirituality and has a legacy of mindfulness practices. It is time that we fall back on these ancient tools to combat the adverse effects of this pandemic. Here are some quick tips that you can start with to make mindfulness work for you and your family :
Mindfulness is your friend: The ever changing socio-economic landscape has seen most of us at the mayhem of endless responsibilities .More often than ever one feels that the precious “Me Time” has become a thing of the past. Which means that it is of paramount of importance now to create spaces to recharge. Being intentional about this change and taking time out to set a routine of Mindful activities in daily routine can really help.
Keep it simple: Being mindful does not have to be a complicated practice . As the name suggests , it is more of aligning your mind and thoughts with your present situation and be in the moment. It is however easier said than done and one needs to leave many other pressing thoughts behind to attain complete mindfulness. Some simple activities like Meditating, Mindful Breathing, Mindful Eating (paying attention to the taste , texture smell while eating your meals), Mindful Exercising (Squeezing and releasing body muscles and taking notice of that), Mindful appreciation of music (focusing solely on the song while listening to music) etc can bring significant improvement .
Stay in the present; Make peace with uncertainty: This pandemic has exposed us to one of the most extreme situation of uncertainty. The mind can wander away from brink and can manoeuvres frightful thoughts. Practicing Mindfulness presents an individual with great coping skills of letting go of any situation that can’t be predicted or controlled and rather stay in present and take each day as it comes.
Compassion is the key: During this challenging times , along with feeling anxious and frustrated it is also very normal to feel anger and disappointment towards one’s own self or people. Rather than amplifying distress it is imperative to be compassionate to your own self and to each other during this time and reach out and offer help wherein possible. Knowing your red flags, being less hard on urself and setting achievable goals can mitigate this problem. At the same time being mindful of others challenges and being compassionate towards them can make people feel less anxious and more productive.
Stay well connected: This outbreak has imposed social distancing and isolation on people but that alone should not stand in the way of human connections. There are still plenty of virtual forums where you can connect digitally be it with your friends, family or colleagues. Be mindful of using these imperative tools to have your community connections going and prevent feelings of loneliness.
This is an exigent time for everyone and is here to test everyone’s threshold of endurance and tolerance. Not knowing what the future holds or how long this situation will last can be really stressful. However embracing healthy coping skills and relying on good mental and physical well-being measures can still come out as the silver lining in this gloom.
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