Keeping Calm in Challenging Times|
Isolation, social distancing, quarantine, washing of hands, lockdown, and face masks are quickly becoming common catchwords of late. These are also elements in today’s reality that people around the globe share. The gravity of the Covid-19 pandemic leaves one feeling like it’s a rerun of the 1918 Spanish Flu. An epidemic of this magnitude had filled up hospitals, emptied public places, challenged healthcare systems, and saw a sizable drop in economic and commercial activities. Current travel bans and quarantines have separated people from their jobs, families, and friends.
While the readjustment of our reality is a direct result of the need for an international coordinated public health response to the outbreak, each individual needs a type of response that will keep us sane.
We have to face it: this global crisis can and will trigger increased levels of anxiety and depression. There’s a need for each of us to respond on the heart and mind level in order to maintain our personal well-being in this difficult time. This readjustment has also sent us into a tailspin leaving our sleep hours, waking hours, work schedule (or lack thereof), and regular routines out of control.
How to Get a Grip of One’s Self?
While it’s important to keep abreast with the latest stats on Covid-19 cases, deaths, and recoveries (while keeping in mind that it’s crucial that we do our part to prevent its spread) we also become inevitably susceptible to worry, anxiety, and fear, which can lead to reactivity and/or panic.
Ancient wisdom and the field of Psychology emphasize the importance of calmness. This is not to say that equanimity is the panacea for any and all crisis situations, but it is a quality that will help us endure difficulty and enable us to come out of it a better person. Calmness is neither being detached or idealistic, rather it is a realistic engagement with the situation we’re facing. That being said, we need to do so in a way that enables us to see the changing patterns of our minds and moods, and in a manner where we acknowledge the unpredictable patterns of events as the pandemic runs its course.
Developing calmness is a tool that can help us navigate through various phases of life (with all its uncertainties) without getting lost in the fray or losing balance. Calmness isn’t only for the inner life, it is equally important to our external lives.
Calmness and Action
Naturally, we need a viable treatment and vaccine for Covid-19, and we have our best scientists working on them. On a personal level, we have to manage our response to the pandemic so that we remain functional, sane, and at peace.
Calmness isn’t abdication of action, creativity, or innovation. Rather, it is a mindful and wholehearted response that values the health and well-being of all humanity. In fact, quite the opposite of resignation, calmness is a backdrop against which creativity and community spirit germinate. Equanimity is a steady ground on which you and I can stand and face the challenges in our lives — especially today.
A Mindful Moment to Find Steady Ground
1) To keep calm and stay sane, first of all, notice when you’re about to fall into the chasm of anxiety. It’s important to take note of the early signs that you’re starting to get anxious and crucial to have the mind to stop automatic reactions.
2) Take a second to steady your attention on your breath. Stabilize your unsettled, scattered thoughts. Take up a confident posture that will signal your brain a sense of dignity and wakefulness.
3) After your attention is stabilized, think of a mountain you know well. Do a gradual, mental scan starting at its base, slopes, and the way it rises up from the base.
4) Imagine yourself as that mountain and speak of think this phrase or one that is similar: “I have a solid base where I’m in contact with the ground, my body is stable, my head is supported by this strong body and steady shoulders. I’m like a mountain through each day, with every season, through the years...I have a sense of myself sitting with dignity and wakefulness. Experiences come and go but my breath is my anchor. I’m a mountain — steady through it all.”
Anytime a news report, outside stimulus, or a triggering thought leaves you feeling panicky, anxious, or unsteady, take a few moments to stop and breathe. Visualize yourself as a mountain. Assume a confident posture and go through steps 1 through 4. Steady your mind and body (like a mountain) as images, thoughts, impulses, emotions, and bodily sensations come and go. Focus your attention on the steady and enduring nature of the mountain.
During the day or night, bring awareness to each moment that you’re alive and breathing. As best as you’re able to bring this attitude of steadiness to the experiences you’re having whether pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Recognize without judgment, and then allow and embrace each waking moment.
Mark Twain said, “I am an old man and have had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened…Never worry, never hurry.”
Keep calm my friend.
Visit TOWL today to explore more helpful wellness and mindful living tips, and be sure to check out our selection of super soft and comforting bamboo organic towels to add a little calmness to your daily routine.
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