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Mindfulness: Challenging Thoughts

April 3, 2020
Published in: COVID-19, Mental Health

Man wearing earbuds and relaxing with his eyes closed in the woods

We can have a lot of anxious thoughts on our good days. Add a Pandemic and our thoughts can really reach a peak. Like our reaction to the Coronavirus, we want to use all of our tools to get the peak back down. One of the ways we can do it is by challenging our very own thoughts.

Have you ever had the thought in the past that, "This day will never ever end?" Well it did end. You got through it. You probably have gotten through lots of challenges in your life that you were not sure you would get through. The thought that this day will never end is just a thought. We can challenge our irrational thoughts. We can say something like, "I've had days like this before and I've made it through. I can make it through this day." Or, "This too shall pass."

The Star Wars' wise one, Yoda, reminds us to use the Force for good. We can use our very own brains to combat discouraging thoughts. If we take a deep cleansing breath and quiet our mind a bit we can access our frontal lobe thinking–the wise one inside of us. The more we do this the less distressed we will be.

Let's Start with Breathing

Of all the skills to help with life's anxieties, breathing skills are the most often referenced when people talk about what helps them deal with stress and anxiety.

When we begin to feel tightness in our chest or shoulders or lower back (wherever our stress tends to manifest itself in our bodies) we can observe that as a signal that we need to find a quiet spot (sometimes just around a corner) where we can take a deep breath in and hold it for a few seconds and let it out over a few seconds. And repeat once or twice if we can. We can imagine breathing in calm and breathing out tension. We can imagine breathing in relaxation and breathing out irritability. Our brain believes what we tell it so the words we say to ourselves as we do this have power.

Even one deep cleansing breath can help. Obviously we don't want to breathe in germs so we have to be mindful of the area around us. But there are lots of places where it is perfectly safe to take deep cleansing breaths.

Be Mindful and be safe.