The concept of mindfulness may have originated in Buddhism, but it is not a religious practice. Today, you can find mindfulness being applied in healthcare, business and educational settings, and everything in between.
Mindfulness is simply the practice of focusing your attention on the present moment. Being mindful means observing your thoughts and feelings in that moment, without judging them as good or bad. Living mindfully is to live in the present, without worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.
The physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness have been documented in thousands of studies since the 1970s. It has been shown to help relieve stress, reduce chronic pain and improve sleep, among other benefits.
While you can practice mindfulness by sitting quietly during a few minutes of formal meditation, you can also incorporate mindfulness meditation into your daily life. It’s simply a matter of being more aware of — and intentional with — your actions. For example, pay attention to each sensation and movement the next time you drink your coffee, take a bite of food, walk across the room or brush your teeth.
During these chaotic times, mindfulness can be an especially helpful tool to cope with anxiety, fear and grief. Here are some resources to get you started.
Ten Percent Happier
ABC News Correspondent Dan Harris began exploring the world of mindfulness meditation after he experienced an on-air panic attack while appearing on Good Morning America. That exploration turned into the book, Ten Percent Happier, another book, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, an app and website, www.tenpercent.com.
The website’s “Coronavirus Sanity Guide” is chock full of resources, including articles, guided meditations and short lectures about mindfulness and the ways it can help as you face the unknown.
Tara Brach is known throughout the world as a leading teacher of meditation and mindfulness. She has written several books on self-compassion, mindfulness and meditation and has a huge amount of free content on her website www.tarabrach.com, including numerous guided meditations designed to help you navigate these difficult times. Click here to read her recent interview on Vox, which offers some tips for calming your coronavirus anxiety.
Meditation Apps and Resources
Insight Timer is a great resource that can be accessed on the web or as an app on your smartphone or tablet. It offers over 30,000 free, guided meditations, as well as meditation courses at an affordable cost.
Calm is another website/app that is offering a number of free meditations to help you cope during this unprecedented pandemic.
Mindful Magazine offers tons of free content on its website, including an extensive list of offerings related to COVID-19 and how to use mindfulness to stay calm and cope.
One of the core missions of the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center is to share the practice of mindfulness meditation as one of its core missions. Located at 1924 Newburg Road in Louisville, this wonderful organization has a COVID-19 page on its website that offers resources for coping and connection during these challenging times.
These are just our top recommendations, but many more are available online. Small acts of mindfulness and meditation can make a big impact your emotional health and well-being, so remember to take special care of yourself during this time of uncertainty.