The Importance of Mindfulness Amidst Chaos
Updated: Apr 30, 2020
"Mindfulness” has surely become one of the hottest buzzwords of these past few years, giving even “ghosting” a run for its money. The word has become ubiquitous throughout modern culture and everyone seems to be getting hip (or zen, rather). Unlike “ghosting”, however, mindfulness is not merely a cowardly way in which people avoid conflict, but on the contrary, it is an extremely useful skill that can be used in all aspects of life. Mindfulness can be described as an individual’s awareness of their surroundings as well as their inner thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Being mindful is about being present and accepting both your internal and external environment.
How is this information relevant to our experience with COVID-19? Well first of all, one could argue that mindfulness is always relevant! More specifically, though, this practice is especially useful during times of change, uncertainty, emotional turbulence and stress. For example, if there were a global pandemic that warranted a quarantine which prevented most of the population from spending time with their friends or family, mindfulness would really come in handy.
Depending on who you are, all this physical distancing may have you in a serious funk. If that is the case, you aren’t alone and we’re happy you’re here. As most of our means of connecting and socializing have disappeared (e.g. school, work, extracurricular activities, happy hour), so too has a little bit of our sanity. I have quickly realized that what has brought on many of the new, strange feelings I’ve been experiencing has not necessarily been the inability to attend activities, but that their absence has left me alone with my thoughts, in turn forcing more introspection upon me than ever before. Fortunately, I knew I had mindfulness on my side. Although I have surely struggled more than usual over this difficult time, the obstacle has been greatly diminished through meditation and mindfulness practices, which is why I felt writing this piece was important.
Growing up, many of us (myself included) were taught to avoid our negative feelings and thoughts like the plague (no pun intended). As a result, by no fault of our own, we failed to learn how to accept and cope with discomforting feelings. Instead of facing our feelings, we go out with friends, work out, watch television, or occupy our mind with the outside world, leaving our inner world neglected. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s necessary and healthy to have many ways to occupy our time, hence the plethora of ideas provided on this very website. However, this does become unhealthy when we leave no time for confronting what is happening within. Coronavirus has undoubtedly eliminated many of the ways we avoid ourselves, and therefore has most people feeling uncomfortable, to say the least. It’s normal to feel this way, especially when you’ve been conditioned to stay busy and carry on, business as usual, regardless of what’s going on inside. Luckily, mindfulness is a skill which anyone can acquire, regardless of age, sex, size, agility level, etc. Becoming more mindful is a truly unique skill as it can be used throughout the rest of your life in literally any situation. Additionally, it fosters a positive relationship between you and your mind, strengthening your ability to accept yourself and grow in all areas of life.
Whether you’re a meditation expert or a mere novice, we encourage you to check out these mindfulness resources (or some of your own) and hope that they aid you in some way. If you have any recommendations for fellow viewers or feedback, we would greatly appreciate it as the quality of our site is extremely important to us.
Lastly, we want you to know that whatever you are feeling now amidst this crisis, what you were feeling before and what feelings will follow is all valid and acceptable. If you are having thoughts of suicide, experiencing a crisis, or struggling with substance abuse please refer to our crisis resources under the "Resources" tab.