The Live Well, Work Well newsletter is an employee newsletter that is produced monthly and covers topics like health, wellness, fitness, nutrition and personal finance. This month’s issue discusses finding peace of mind.
How to find peace of mind in uncertain times
Life always includes periods of change and uncertainty – and maybe now more than ever because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the future seems uncertain, you may experience feelings of anxiety, stress and sadness. These feelings can affect your quality of life, your physical health and your mood.
Even when you are facing uncertainty, there are ways to find calm and peace of mind. Lessen your feelings of stress and anxiety by trying these tips.
Train your brain with meditation
Meditation isn’t about repressing negative thoughts or picturing a calm place. It’s about letting your thoughts flow freely, without judgment or deep thinking – recognizing and allowing each thought to pass by. Meditating as little as five minutes a day can bring you balance and perspective. It can also help release tension and strengthen your ability to let your thoughts flow freely, without self-judgment.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Try the following to help you get started:
- Get comfortable in a quiet space.
- Sit with your back straight or lie on a flat surface.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Recognize where you feel it (in your belly or nose?). Pay attention to how you inhale and exhale, but don’t try to change anything.
- Alternate between paying attention to how your body feels and your breath for five minutes.
If thoughts drift in (and they will), don’t fight them. Just let them float in and out and keep returning the focus to your breath. The more you practice meditation, the easier and faster it will be for you to find calm, even if you are very anxious. You’ll be able to clear your mind and breathe deeply, relaxing your body.
Your first attempts at meditation might make you feel a little uncomfortable or restless. Don’t worry. Simply make time every day to meditate and check in with your body and brain. There are many free meditation apps to help guide you along.
Mindfulness is being aware of the moment you are in. When you are mindful, you are not multitasking or thinking about something else. You are in the moment. Simple tasks such as brushing your hair or teeth are moments where you can practice mindfulness. Take time to become aware of the feelings of what you are doing and what is happening around you.
Being in the moment can help relieve stress. It keeps you from fixating on other worries because you are living fully in the present moment.
Like meditation, mindfulness takes practice. Be patient with yourself and consciously practice mindfulness every day. With enough practice, it will become a habit.
Move your body
Repetitive exercise such as walking, jogging or swimming can sometimes serve as a form of moving meditation. Lifting weights and being aware of your form can serve as an exercise in mindfulness.
But even beyond these factors, exercise benefits your physical and mental health in many ways. Research shows that exercise boosts mood, improves sleep and can help fight stress. Make time every day to reap the benefits of exercise, even if it’s just a 10-minute walk around the block or up and down a flight of stairs.
In today’s busy world, it can be difficult to find moments of quiet. But quiet time without technology and without talking to others can give you a chance to relax. In your quiet time, you may choose to meditate or practice mindfulness. Or you may simply sit with your thoughts.
Quiet time can bring important clarity in times of uncertainty. It helps you tune in with your thoughts and understand your feelings, motivations and worries. This self-reflection is important for finding peace of mind.
Seek professional help
If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression and these feelings are affecting your daily living or quality of life, you should speak to your physician or a licensed therapist. Everyone needs extra help at some point in their life. Therapy can help you build the skills you need to manage these feelings, find peace and prevent worry. If you have clinical depression or anxiety, medication may also be appropriate; again, talk to a professional.
Times of uncertainty can make everyone feel stressed and anxious. By finding time for quiet check-ins with your mind and body, you can build the skills you need to find calm in even the most trying circumstances.