5 Mindfulness Techniques To Find Inner Peace Amid Panic & Chaos

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5 Mindfulness Techniques To Find Inner Peace Amid Panic & Chaos
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How are you navigating life in the age of COVID-19? We’re all in uncharted waters right now. It’s safe to say that absolutely no one in the world has ever experienced this before — a truly global pandemic.

No matter where you live, what your religion, gender, or age is, whether you’re rich or poor, single or married, we’re all scrambling to find ways to stay grounded and positive in this new reality.

Practicing mindfulness techniques can help you achieve inner peace.

RELATED: 6 Essential Skills That'll Help You Practice Mindfulness Like A True Zen Master

I encountered the notion of mindfulness years ago when someone gave me a copy of Thich Nhat Hahn’s classic manual on meditation, "The Miracle of Mindfulness."

He offers an easy-but-profound message about the importance of bringing your attention to ordinary daily actions.

Put another way, mindfulness is defined as "a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations."

"What?!" you say.

When you’re surrounded by fear, uncertainty, and chaos, why would you want to be fully present to all of that?

The answer lies in choosing what you’re mindful of.

In any given moment right now, you can turn on your T.V., open your emails, or pull up any social media platform and spiral into panic mode based on the latest news or warnings.

So, the first thing to do is to step back from all of that external input and create an intention for a different kind of mindfulness — the kind that you dictate.

Here are 5 mindfulness techniques to help you find some inner peace in the midst of the craziness of COVID-19.

1. Schedule "breath breaks" for yourself.

Set your phone alarm to go off several times a day. I use Tibetan chimes as my alarm which, in itself, has a calming effect.

When you hear those bells, take a moment to check in with your body.

What are you feeling right now? What mental state are you in?

If you’re in front of a screen and getting agitated, just close your eyes, be still, and breathe, while focusing on each inhale and exhale. Allow yourself to feel whatever comes up, then breathe it out.

When you can string a bunch of those moments together over the course of a day, you’ll begin to feel more relaxed overall.

2. Connect with the Earth.

Work in your garden or sit against a tree in a park, making sure you’re six feet away from any nearby walkers or runners, of course. However, if you’re quarantined or in lockdown, you’ll have to get more creative.

Retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly offers his take on how to connect with nature based on the year he spent in isolation in an international space station.

He didn’t have the option of stepping outside — at least, not easily — so he focused on the plant he was tending, while some of his colleagues played recordings of nature sounds like birds and rustling leaves.

If you can’t get outside, bring the outside in!

3. Do something with your hands.

No, endlessly typing on your keyboard or phone doesn’t count!

Have you always wanted to learn to knit? Or have you been waiting to try out your new paint set? Maybe you used to be into carpentry or have been looking for the right time to experiment with gluten-free cooking.

Now is the time to do it all!

The idea is to pick something that requires some concentration so you can focus your attention on a specific thing.

Remember, mindfulness requires you to be fully present, so whatever you choose, make it a full sensory experience. Savor the tastes and smells, feel the yarn, wood, or paints in your hands, put some great music on, and really get into your project.

RELATED: 9 Practical Ways To Be More Present In Your Life & Achieve Mindfulness

4. Meditative movement.

Full disclosure — yoga is probably my favorite way to practice mindfulness. The bottom line is that if you’re not fully present, you’ll hurt yourself doing a pose or just fall over!

And, of course, that quintessential element of mindfulness — focusing on your breath — is a key component of yoga, whether you practice hatha, vinyasa, bikram, or any other style.

When you sync your inhales and exhales with each movement, you come into full awareness of your body, and your thoughts are solely focused on maintaining that mind, body, or spiritual connection.

Another practice you may not know about is Authentic Movement. With your eyes closed and no music, you explore spontaneous gestures, movement, and stillness, while being "witnessed" by someone else.

Your witness can be live or even holding the space for you through Zoom! It really is a powerful experience for both the Mover and the Witness and requires both of you to be fully present.

5. Vocal meditation.

You can experiment with your voice in a number of mindful ways. The first step is to settle into a comfortable position and start some deep breathing.

Sink into your body and ask yourself what word or quality you’d most like to embrace right now.

Speak that word out loud before each breath, creating a physical vibration in your being — joy, love, peace, whatever you need at this moment to relax.

Reciting mantras or singing chants are even more powerful vocal practices and are an integral part of many spiritual traditions.

If you typically have a hard time calming down your "monkey mind" during mediation, it helps when you can focus on whatever it is that you’re speaking or singing.

You can even sing along with an experienced singer. Deva Premal, a singer known for introducing Sanskrit mantras into the mainstream, is a perfect place to start!

However you decide to practice mindfulness, the key is to start with the intention of being fully present.

Pay attention to all the sensory input coming in from around you, as well as the emotions and thoughts that bubble up from within.

Accept the presence of every aspect of your experience without judgment, then let it go. Even in the best of times, that can be hard to do.

But, in the midst of challenging times, it can be a real game-changer and help you feel more calm, peaceful, and grounded.

RELATED: 7 Ways To Use Mindfulness To Calm Panic & Anxiety During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Deborah Roth is an Interfaith Minister and Spiritual Life and Relationship Coach who has been experimenting with different kinds of meditation for most of her life. She leads women’s New Moon Circles and Full Moon TeleMeditations every month and loves designing creative, meaningful rituals for individuals and couples to re-energize mind, body, and spirit and enhance their relationships. Visit Spirited Living or email her at Deborah@SpiritedLiving.com to schedule a 20-minute introductory coaching session.

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