By Lucas Seimandi.
Confinement and uncertainty are not good friends with mental health. Our lives are full of activities, plans, deadlines, social or family events, and more.
The 21st century is full of paradoxes: life has never been safer, more comfortable, or with more freedom than in recent years (despite all the new problems and those we still have); however, today's stress is unprecedented. Overwhelmed with endless expectations and opportunities, we are drowning in an ocean of anxiety and frustration.
Quarantine, plans and anxiety
We were ordered to stay home for 14 days, then another 14. How long will the quarantine last?
For many, two weeks off work is a short vacation. For others, it's an opportunity for unfinished business, archived projects, or to catch up on new habits. And for some, all of the above at once.
Whatever your case, maybe two weeks has already been enough for you. Maybe all the movies you had to read, all the things you had to clean up, all the files you had to update, maybe you got tired of always doing the same thing. After all, even your back hurts after sleeping too much.
A lot of the same, it gets tiresome. And, when there is tension in the air, uncertainty, social unrest, rumors of crisis all the time, nothing seems to really help calm the anxiety and frustration.
A new old recipe
This is the moment where the author of the post would sell you something. A book, a course, a subscription to their new exclusive channel.
But today I don't feel in the mood to sell my novel. Today I want to tell you about something very powerful that I discovered some years ago.
It's not a drug. It's not an electronic device, an app, or a mentor.
It's a concept to improve stress reduction and concentration: Mindfulness.
Sometimes translated as full attention, it refers to the moment when we are immersed in the present, whether it is something we are doing (a game, an exercise, a meal) or something we are contemplating (a landscape, a movie, a conversation).
It is a very simple concept, but very powerful and often difficult to implement. It has many implications, such as stopping us from feeling guilty or victimized by what happened in the past, stopping our obsessing for controlling an uncertain future, leaving aside distractions or useless and harmful thoughts.
Like any concept, it is not something that is done or not done. It's not a shirt you buy online and wear. It is an idea that we try to resemble, gradually.
Practicing Mindfulness can be something as profound as a meditation or a spiritual retreat. As well as something as simple as leaving your cell phone off at the movies or at lunchtime; not as a rule not to disturb, but as a way to have some peace of mind.
Quarantine Mindfulness Exercises
So... how do I start practicing some mindfulness?
These are exercises that have served me well, arranged according to the difficulty they may have.
- Reduce multitasking: Are you going to watch your favorite show? Leave your phone far away, your friends can wait for one or two hours. Are you doing crafts or something you like? Try turning off the TV for a while.
- Disconnect: Don't use the phone when you're sharing a moment with someone, even when you're working or studying; after 20 minutes of doing the same, you'll see your concentration and performance increase as you enter a flow state.
- Take out the background music: exercising, cooking, reading, talking - all these things can be done in silence. It can be a bit empty at first, but then you get used to it and your performance improves.
- Reading: Unlike watching a movie or listening to music, reading is an active activity, since it requires your concentration to process what you read and generate in your mind the scenes and ideas presented there; thus, a full reading allows a much deeper and more accurate understanding than a quick one.
- Meditate: You don't have to be a monk, it can be something as simple as spending 5 minutes concentrating on the sounds of your breath, and there are even free Apps that guide you and explain step by step.
What do you think about Mindfulness? Did you already know it? Do you have any exercises to recommend?
I invite you to share your ideas in the comments.
I also invite you to check out my wordpress site for more of my blog posts and book recommendations! https://lucasseimandi.wordpress.com/