How mindfulness & nature can help in times of crisis 🙏🌿
Is anyone else feeling a whole varying mix of emotional reactions to the current pandemic and lock-down? I have noticed everything from despair to humor, felt all within one day or even one hour!
When we are highly emotionally aroused, we look out from our bubble through the lens of the threat focused mind. We might hone in on the instant supply of horror stories via social media or constantly check the news. This is a completely natural impulse of the present day, that is explained through evolutionary psychology.
👉 It is not our fault.
This is where Mindfulness can help. Mindfulness is about consciously choosing to stay in the present moment. Our minds wander frequently and quite often get consumed in worrying, or dwell on an event or something that somebody said. Our mind is at the will of our spontaneous arising thoughts, many of them negatively bias (another trait of our survival brain).
My teachers taught me the principle ‘Where attention goes, energy flows’. So, rather than giving all our attention to the negative thoughts that pop into our head, if we can catch our breath, pause for a minute, we can let the thoughts go and focus our attention on something else. When we do this in Mindfulness practice, we often focus our attention to an anchor, such as our body, breath, or sounds.
One key aspect that supports our motivation and ‘will’ to practice Mindfulness is compassion, both for ourselves and for others. This is about a genuine, heart-felt wish to be kind and to foster a greater sense of well being within ourselves and others. It’s about stopping beating ourselves up for the present day impulses we have to distract ourselves with, such as too much screen time or drinking too much. Once we let ourselves off the hook for our ‘imperfections’ we can dislodge the shame that keeps us repeating the same old destructive cycles. Lets embrace our true selves, no matter how messy we are.
If we look at the fact that ‘Energy Follows Focus’, we can appreciate how we might begin to create our own reality. What are you choosing to dwell on right now? Where are you putting your energy? This is where immersing ourselves in nature can be so helpful and important. Looking out to the sea at Precious Family Beach helps me to gain a bigger perspective than my smaller minded anxious world that has been consuming me during the past couple of hours. I ponder ‘what has changed for this vast abundance of life here right now ?’….nothing…except perhaps more flourishing. So I make an intention, to focus my own energy and attention, not about anticipation going back into front line healthcare if I am called, but on flourishing, and spending this time enjoying and being grateful for the immense life that we do have; Precious time, Precious nature.
If you are interested in learning more about Mindfulness, I recommend downloading the free app ‘The Mindfulness Based Living App’ for guided mindfulness practices. If you have trouble sleeping because of a busy mind, a ‘body-scan’ practice can be help take the heat out of your head and focus your attention on your body to help you settle down.
Jane is a Mindfulness Teacher, Midwife and Mother. (Post Grad Certificate in Mindfulness and Member of the Mindfulness Association).