It is not far-fetched that the spread of the coronavirus has caused a lot of panic about the nearest future. No doubt, the alarming number of infected people, the closing of business and offices, cancellation of conferences and travel plans, and many more devastating changes is enough to put one in crazy thoughts.

There are reported cases of COVID-19 in almost 150 countries worldwide, and everyone is wondering where this pandemic will lead. It alone is mentally exhaustive and can have a massive impact on your body. But research has clearly shown that mindfulness is an effective measure to reduce the stress and anxiety facing the world today.

Yea, mindfulness is the right path to tackle the stress of being cooped up, and it helps you enjoy some serenity during these uncertain times. That’s why it is recommended in the face of any crisis like the global pandemic today.

So here are some mindfulness tips to try during lockdown to help you stay calm with a grounded mindset to battle the changes in reality caused by the pandemic:

1. Practice the 3-4-5 breathing technique

In whatever situation we find ourselves, learning to dissociate ourselves from the thoughts and anxiety that our minds breeds is a great way to achieve success.

Tiger Woods, during the last year’s master, was using a combination of smart breathing techniques and visualizations of him winning during the game. You could see the steely glare over his face and his diaphragm responding as he focused on his breathing. Well, you already know the result- he took home the tournament.

Now you can also keep yourself in the present during this period of uncertainty by practicing the 3-4-5 breathing technique. It merely involves breathing for three seconds, then holding up for four seconds, and breathing out for the next five seconds. This way you will feel your diaphragm expanding as you breathe in and this grounds you at the moment.

You can set a timer on your phone while you practice the 3-4-5 breath daily in the morning, afternoon, and evening. It keeps your mind off the daily worries and helps you stay focused on your life.

2. Keep the morning pages.

You can practice mindfulness and improve on your creativity by pouring out your mind the moment you wake each morning. Julia Cameron, in her book “The Artist’s Way,” describes how she teaches her students to be creative by requiring them to keep to do a task called “the morning pages.” It involves filling three pages of a notebook with daily thoughts and deciding on them.

You can also practice this technique by putting an A5 notebook and a pen close to your bed before sleeping. The moment you wake up, try to fill three pages of the journal with whatever thoughts that creep into your mind- what you hope, what you dreamt, any worries or fear- in whatever order it comes.

The trick is that the content you put down doesn’t matter, but the psychological wellbeing you get does. This technique helps you pour out all the issues and concerns that may be sabotaging your ability to focus on the day. So if you thought of something you’ve been avoiding or a person you should apologize to, you could easily decide to take action early.

If you also need to handle or take care of a task, using the morning pages helps you stay focused on the moment and have a productive day.

3. Indulge Nostalgia

Do you randomly think of your experience with people that gave you this fuzzy feeling of happiness? Now, this is also a useful mindfulness tool to help you tackle stress and anxiety.

Although nostalgia is often coincidental, you can still choose to experience it by reminiscing- looking at old photographs, or indulging in a favorite film (even when you know the full script).

Research has shown that nostalgic feelings can help us feel more socially connected. And this helps to alleviate feelings of loneliness that is common during this pandemic.

“When you indulge nostalgia, you feel more loved, optimistic, and socially confident,” says Clay Routledge, professor of psychology, North Dakota University.

4. Take a break from your phone.

Many people get used to their phones; we are barely sensitive to what’s going on in our environment. Besides, looking at the influx of devastating news from different channels and social media can create a lot of panic and anxiety in your mind. So what do you expect when you are always on your screen?

It would be best if you took a break from your phone from time to time to help you stay mindful of yourself and your environment. You need to have some time to yourself to look inwards, review your goals, devise a plan for self-improvement, and connect with your loved ones.

Do use the phone while going to the bathroom, when you sit down to eat, or when you are having a close conversation with your partner or kids. It helps a great deal to focus your mind on the present and boost your self-consciousness. Remember, your phone is always there when you need it, so don’t still hang on to it.

5. Focus on one thing at a time

Keeping a to-do list is a form of mindfulness if you set it right. You don’t have jump onto everything that comes into your mind during the day. It will only leave you distracted and exhausted, and the bad part is that you may end up not achieving much, which may lead to worrying and depression.
So, a smarter way to practice mindfulness is to focus on one thing at a time. Arrange your to-do list in the order of importance and set a timer for five minutes on each task. Then give your full and undivided attention to one task at a time. Keep your phone away, turn off the notification sound, no browsing- don’t try to multitask. Focus on one task until the timer goes off.

Closing Remark

Mindfulness is a useful art that the world needs in this period of great panic. When you practice being mindful, it helps to calm your mind and distract you from negative thoughts that could interfere with your goals. Try to use the techniques above to ward off stress and improve on your mental health and overall wellbeing.