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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Mindfulness Versus Being Mindful During a Pandemic

Mindfulness Versus Being Mindful During a Pandemic We are living in a time when the idea of “normal” has been challenged. COVID-19 has created an overwhelming situation that has forced us to make significant changes in the way we live and work. Many of us have had a consciousness shift, a life shift and a work shift during this time.

 There is uncertainty and fear leading to anxiety and depression for many. At a time when we may feel we have no control, the practice of mindfulness gives us a way to bring calmness into our lives. Being mindful means being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. It means being aware of yourself and others. Mindfulness, or Mindfulness Meditation, is the practice of purposely focusing one’s attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness.

 It is a basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, while not being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us. However, many find this difficult to do or forget to be present in the moment. There are many reasons why we practice mindfulness. As our lives become exposed to more uncertainty and stress, it becomes more important than ever to practice self-care and empathy. Many have returned to a changed workplace or school and are challenged with day-to-day activities. Adjusting to the new norm of masks, social distancing and video teleconferencing is often uprooting from the life we knew. Many are still sheltering in place and returning to “life as we knew it” seems to be only a dream. By using a mindful approach one can navigate uncertainty with gentleness.

 In the practice of mindfulness, we offer ourselves kindness and compassion. “The benefits of mindfulness and meditation include reduced stressed, enhanced performance and better insight and awareness through the act of observing our own mind,” explains Sheila Lill, MSN, APN, ACHPN, director of Angelic Health’s palliative care program and the Wenonah-based wellness center. “To be mindful is to sit with the moment. It is to feel the texture of the food you are eating and enjoy the taste without distractions. It is to make a point to hear the leaves rustle when you walk outside. Mindfulness is to release the need to control and to fully accept what ‘is’.”

Mindfulness meditation gives us a time in our lives when we can suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind. In times when things are so uncertain, surrendering to the moment can free us from the anxiety that comes with uncertainty.
Types of Mindfulness Practice While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques.

Here are some examples:
 1. Seated or walking meditation To perform Mindfuloneness Meditation in this manner, one would observe one’s thoughts and feelings while sitting or walking quietly. Notice the thoughts that pass by without engaging in them. Notice the temperature and feel of your breath as it passes in and out of one’s nose. Watch one’s feet as one takes each step on the ground. Engross oneself so much in the moment that the world around you melts away.

2. Short pauses we insert into everyday life As one walks into the office for the day, be fully present in every action. Notice the feel of the hand sanitizer as you rub it into your hands. Close one’s eyes, pause, take a deep breath and relax one’s shoulders before the meeting starts. Give oneself permission to pause between phone calls and notice what one is feeling.

3. Merging meditation practice with other activities such as yoga or other exercise Movement can stimulate mindfulness by fully emerging one into the action. When one exercises, notice the movement of each muscle. Allow one’s mind to become completely engaged in the movement of the body and breath. At the end of the session, take time to lie down and notice how one feels.

The Angelic Health Palliative Wellness Center, located at 1050 Mantua Pike, in Wenonah, provides holistic services for those with chronic or serious health conditions, including massage, yoga, medication, aromatherapy, counseling, trigger point injections and clinical evaluation. For more information or to make an appointment, call toll-free 844-929-0225 or email [email protected] Some services may be covered by insurance.