How to Stay Grounded During this Stressful Time
In the United States, we are in the midst of a nationwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though necessary, being apart from others comes with a significant risk to mental health. Many people are also experiencing increased health anxiety in general. Others have new or continuing financial insecurity or even loss of jobs. Not leaving the house removes the ability to escape from problems at home when home isn’t a safe place. And the necessary “social distancing” we all have to do promotes withdrawal and the loneliness that can follow. (Read our other blog post about social connection.)
It is normal to feel out of sync with yourself at this time. Thankfully, there are some relatively simple ways to connect with yourself and start to feel better. One way to do so is through a practice called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the state of being aware. A leader in the field named Jon Kabat-Zinn says that mindfulness is awareness of the present moment without judgment. It is when we purposely pay attention to what is happening in the here and now without a determination that anything is right or wrong. It helps us respond wisely to things that are happening to us instead of just reacting blindly. Since a lot of things are currently happening to us that are not within our control, we can all benefit from starting – or increasing – our mindfulness practice.
We wanted to share a few resources we often use in therapy and suggest for our clients at home:
Here is a basic video describing mindfulness:
Here is a brief video about mindfulness and meditation:
Your breath is one of the most important tools for achieving a calm state. Try this simple Breathing Box technique:
- Inhale for 4 counts
- Hold for 4 counts
- Exhale for 4 counts
- Hold for 4 counts
Yoga is a spiritual practice that promotes mindfulness and connection between the brain and body. Here are a few video sites we use:
Dr. Dan Siegel is a leader in the field of neuroscience and the brain-body connection. His website is full of wonderful resources including Everyday Mindsight guided meditations.
Apps we like:
Welzen – How Are You?
Some books we like:
The Gift of Awareness: Mindfulness Guide for Women (it applies to everyone!)
By Caroline Welch
Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation
By Dan Siegel
I Am Peace
By Susan Verde
This one is great for children! Here it is read aloud by the author: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXA3837uv3w
We hope you will build some mindfulness into each day as we face uncertain times ahead. A person’s body and mind are interconnected; you actually strengthen your immune systems when you use mindfulness, so it’s a win-win! What will you do to help yourself today?
Blog written by Sentier Psychotherapy therapist, Sarah Souder Johnson, MEd, LPCC