We’re living in stressful times as the Covid pandemic continues. We’re concerned that the positivity rate will surge again after the holidays. We’re concerned about rising inflation and that our money is not worth as much as it used to be. People, who are permanently working from home, crave interpersonal interaction. Because our responsibilities, worries and concern are on the rise, doctors are prescribing a record number of prescriptions for anxiety medication. It is a challenging time to exist and the result is the perfect storm of uncertainty.
But what if we take 5-10 minutes out of our busy day to be still and silent and just breathe? In an interesting article I found on the New Hope Network website, https://www.newhope.com/blog/4-steps-dropping-peaceful-meditation-your-desk, I discovered mindfulness. This practice can increase our ability to regulate our emotions, decrease stress, anxiety and depression. Here are some recommended tips:
1. Perk up your posture.
“Sitting at desks, we spend most of the day slouching forward. Do your spine a favor and sit up tall in the middle of the chair, without the chair back’s support. Place both feet flat on the ground. Rest your palms on your thighs and gently drop your shoulders away from your ears and your shoulder blades together on your back. Tuck your chin down just slightly and pull your belly in and up. Take a nice, deep breath and close your eyes.
2. Tune in to your breath.
Spend a minute or so simply breathing. Follow the breath as it moves up and down the spine, and be aware that the breath is not just in the front body – it’s a 360-degree effort. Notice how the side bodies expand and how the back body responds.
3. Relax the whole body.
As you continue to breathe slowly, take deep breath and begin to relax your body. Start with the feet and work to the crown of the head. Bring your awareness to each portion of your body and mentally give it permission to relax. Don’t skip your jaw, your eyes and your forehead, common tension-holders in addition to our shoulders and hips.
4. Truly listen – first, without and then within.
Now that you’re relaxed, bring awareness to what’s outside of you. Listen, allowing sounds to exist but do not become attached to them. Now, shift your focus completely internal, listening to the sounds within your body such as your breath and heart beat. If you can’t hear yourself, simply strive to hear. Sit in this way for five to 10 minutes. As thoughts arise, simply bring your focus back to the breath.”
If we practice daily, we have the opportunity to create mindfulness and potentially decrease our anxiety. Schedule daily 5-10 minute mindfulness appointments on your work calendar throughout the week and hold yourself accountable.