Family Flavours: How can we manage our anxiety about the coronavirus outbreak and what can COVID-19 teach us about mindfulness?
Abeer Jabaji (Personal Development Coach):
While it is vital to know what is happening around us and be aware and alert, we mustn’t get into a state of panic. While this virus is new and doctors still don’t know very well how it behaves, we also need to be rational and calm in our approach and reaction to it. Panicking weakens our immune system which is imperative in fighting any disease.
Here are a few things we can do during this difficult time to stay calm:
Staying away as much as possible from social media and not believing everything we read or see. News keep changing by the hour and we only hear the bad news. We should also only follow news from trusted sources
Actively reminding ourselves of reasons not to worry. What are all of the reasons I should feel safe? What are all of the things I am doing to make a bad outcome less likely? We can reassure ourselves with steps we’re taking like washing our hands, disinfecting surfaces and practising social distancing by staying at home and avoiding crowds
Avoiding googling any symptoms we may feel. This only increases our anxiety
Practising slow breathing by inhaling for three and exhaling for three for five minutes
Practising meditation either on our own for ten minutes or using guided meditation online
Keeping ourselves healthy by exercising at home or walking outside in our neighbourhood, drinking enough water, trying to eat healthily and getting enough sleep
Occupying our mind with relaxing hobbies like reading a book, painting, playing board games or listening to relaxing music.
Although COVID-19 has the power to invoke fear and anxiety in many brave-hearted people, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be swept into a panic state. One of the techniques I use to calm myself is practising mindfulness. We can achieve mindfulness by focusing on one’s awareness in
the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. I mindfully observe myself to be less reactive and more responsive in the face of such uncertain and worrisome times. I acknowledge my fears and thoughts without getting
swept away by them. Then I place my hand on my heart and say:
“May I be safe”
“May I be healthy”
“May I accept my feelings as they are right now”
“May I begin to accept myself as I am in this difficult time”
“Everything is going to be alright”
And then I let go and live in this moment without thinking of a dark future that most probably will never happen. I enjoy the moment I’m in now and am grateful for what I have. I look around am thankful for all the little things that can bring me relief and joy.
Let’s start appreciating this time – time for ourselves, time for our families and time to do all the things we’ve wanted to do but never got the chance to do them