Join me Wednesday, March
18, at 12:00 p.m. ET for a meditation that will help you ground yourself in
stillness, steadiness, and compassion. Here is the link to register.
It’s natural to feel a variety of difficult emotions at a time when the world is faced with the novel coronavirus that is affecting all of our lives. But, being consumed by fear and continually activating the flight-or-fight response can reduce your capacity to keep yourself safe with a strong immune system—something we need now more than ever. Meditation is a proven strategy for bolstering our immune systems as well as improving many other physical and psychological markers of well-being.
We have all heard of people engaging in behaviors that are the result of fear and panic. Case in point–the run on toilet paper. When a few people start buying a lot of toilet paper, then more and more people automatically think that this is what they should be doing too. Then, before you know it, the shelves at the store are empty of toilet paper. People are even duking it out to get the last roll. I even heard that, in Australia, a coffee shop is accepting toilet paper as currency.
Fear is understandable right now, as this is probably the most serious crises we have faced in our lifetimes. There is the threat of the virus and threat of the unknown which can lead to even more extreme emotional, behavioral, and physiological reactions. It is easy to do. For instance, I heard there were Clorox wipes available at a store nearby and jumped in my car to buy them. Of course, when I got there I didn’t find any. While this behavior was fairly harmless. I just wasted a little time. Falling prey to panic behavior will not be helpful for me, you, or others as this situation continues.
Now is the time, more than ever, when your mindfulness practice is your best friend. If you have one, great. Keep it up. If you don’t, learn how to start one. Mindfulness is the ability to be present, with kindness, curiosity and compassion with all emotions–particularly the difficult ones. As you learn to acknowledge and accept the emotions that arise, while you breath and bring curiosity to them, you can build resilience in the face of difficulty. Softening and allowing whatever is present allows the emotions to pass through your awareness without them consuming you.
Meditation is more important now than ever because it teaches you how to practice the skill of mindfulness. Meditation is a time set aside to practice so that when you are in the rest of your life you will be more able to engage skillfully with whatever arises. Meditation doesn’t have to take a long time every day. Just a few minutes of sitting can help you reap the benefits and prepare you for the day.
On Wednesday, we will be engaging in a meditation that will help you acknowledge what feelings are present with kindness; access your internal resources in order to feel more safe, calm, and strong; and develop compassion for yourself and others. When we come into the present moment, we can connect with the fear but we also can connect with the strength and kindness that are also available to us. These three component—acknowledging what’s present, accessing your internal resources, and developing compassion—will be very useful as you face the days ahead.
Our relationships with one another are so important and going online can help you feel more connected. The Zoom platform that The Center for Mindful Eating uses allows us to all see each other as we come together to practice our skills of presence and tenderness. We need each other now more than ever. I hope to see you soon!