As we continue to shelter in place and the effects of the virus continue to ripple outward, we may experience higher levels of stress and an increasing potential for the people closest to us to be effected, either directly or indirectly by the virus. These circumstances could include becoming ill, a loved one dying, financial concerns, sleep problems, housing issues, lack of motivation and focus to do your job, your sport training, or your academic work, and even challenges in getting along with those with whom we are quarantining. As we discussed in a previous tip, if there are aspects of these circumstances that you can control, you can work on those things. But if there are not, then taking a mindful approach may help you not become emotionally and cognitively stuck.
Two weeks ago, we had you try an activity to bring into awareness just how many thoughts you have during short amounts of time. As you may have discovered, It's a lot of thoughts and feelings! And some of your thoughts and feelings – anxiety, fear, frustration, anger, guilt, shame, uncertainty - may make it particularly hard to be present and your best you.
As a reminder, and if you want to practice again, you can find that exercise here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J2Zyjn8Fxo
With this awareness of just how many thoughts you have (and what those thoughts and feelings may be about), this week we will focus on how to develop a more mindfully based way of being with your thoughts and feelings. This technique can help you be more present and engaged, which is beneficial in whatever you are doing. Developing a mindful relationship with your thoughts and feeling is not about controlling them (e.g., stopping or correcting them)…in mindfulness you accept that your thoughts and feelings are just with you and present all the time…they key is in how you relate to your thoughts and feelings when they enter your awareness. Do you “attach” to them, where they stick with you, weigh you down, and keep you from being in the present moment, or do you observe them, acknowledge their presence, and then let them go (in essence “detaching” from them). Like all aspects of mindfulness, learning how to develop this new relationship with your thoughts and feelings takes practice and time. To help you on your journey, we recommend the following:
In the Mindfulness Coach App: Do the module "Clouds in the Sky (1.0)"
On Youtube: Do "Leaves on a Stream" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1C8hwj5LXw
Take time each day to practice this perspective - how to detach from a thought or emotion – and you will develop a skill that will help you stay present, focused, and engaged in every moment you have.
Take care and be #PhysicallyDistantSociallyClose