Practice Mindfulness to reduce stress is in response to the global pandemic with the corona virus and covid-19, yet the teaching will apply whether you are reading this to support you during a global, local, or personal crisis.
Step One: Practice playfulness like wearing a silly hat, daily laughter practice, watching funny videos or writing jokes in order to reduce the stress response in your body and mind.
Step Two: Remember that mindfulness practice, is called a “practice” for a reason because you need to keep practice again and again and again and sometimes doing the practice or remembering to try are easier than others. The more that you practice, the easier it becomes to move out of a stress response into a relaxed state.
When you are in a crisis that lasts for a long period of time, it is essential to move your nervous system out of fight or flight and into rest and digest. This is possible even in a situation that has prolonged stress see step one for ideas.
Step Three: Start your practice by feeling the sensations in your body. Notice the physical environment that you are in. Feel what you’re sitting on. Feel your clothing touching your skin, feel where your hair is touching your face. Notice the colors in the room that you’re in. Notice the textures of the fabric in the room, notice the light, notice the sounds, notice your breath. Notice sensations inside your body, whether they are comfortable or uncomfortable.
Step Four: Name the sensations without the emotion or judgement. For example, I have felt panicky many times in the last several weeks, although it is helpful to name I feel that panicky feeling, it can be insightful to name the feeling and the sensation. For example, ” I am noticing a vibrating erratic energy that is pervasive and appears to be inside and beyond edges of my body, especially around my throat.
Step Five: By naming the experience, it helps me to see what else is available and it brings my full attention into the moment. Next I can move into a deeper state of by naming it, working through the layers of resistance and acknowledge that this panicky feeling is present. When I can reduce or stop resisting most often the experience will shift and some other experience becomes available.
Step Six: Breathe more deeply and feel more completely in order to release resistance. When I do this with the panicky feeling I also notice there’s a sense of peace in my environment.
Step Seven: Be open to what else is available. I am giving myself space to feel the challenging emotions, name them, experience them, and move the energy through my body. This practice has heightened my sensitivity to beauty, peace, gratitude and emotions that are generally considered pleasurable. When you aren’t pushing away your experience, sensations, thoughts it makes the energy of the emotions available. When energy is available you can are more present in your environment and navigate your situation with greater ease and clarity.
Step Eight: Move into deeper connection, make better choices, and communicate from a more centered place.
Remember mindfulness practice is a practice.
You may name the uncomfortable emotions, settle into a deeper experience only to get popped right back out of feeling better and land back into the panicky feeling at which point you start the practice again. This is normal!
Be in your experience without judgment and keep doing the practice. The less you can resist your experience, the easier it will be for you to rest in the present moment even if it’s stressful.
And even as you do that, the present moment is always moving.
Mindfulness is a never ending practice.
Do your best to be supportive, celebrate the moments where you are able to drop into the present moment and feel without resistance or judgement.
You can also add any questions or comments below, see you soon.