The pandemic has created unprecedented changes all around the world. For many people, the uncontrollable nature of this public health crisis has been a source of significant COVID-19 stress. The pandemic has also brought practical worries as many people have lost work and have not been able to see loved ones. The Red Cross has already warned of an imminent global mental health crisis as a result, Forbes reports.
If you feel yourself struggling because of COVID-19 stress, it’s important to take action. Long-term stress can have serious repercussions for your emotional and physical wellbeing, increasing your risk of anxiety, depression, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and more. Meditation is a wonderful solution.
Just Breathe magazine is dedicated to helping individuals discover the benefits of this practice. This guide explains why it’s such a potent tool against stress and how you can use it to come out of the pandemic even more resilient.
The mental and physical health benefits of meditation
Meditation is all about focusing your energy inwards away from stressful distractions (like scary coronavirus headlines). The practice uses breathing techniques and mantras to calm the mind, encouraging mindfulness. The aim is to focus physically and mentally on the present moment, letting concerns about the past and future drop away. According to Harvard University, this can be valuable in combating feelings of anxiety and mental stress.
Research published by Kent State University reveals that meditation is also effective in reducing blood pressure. Long-term high blood pressure can lead to many negative health issues, like heart attack and stroke. You can further boost the physical benefits of meditation by coupling the practice with yoga. You can put the same breathing exercises of meditation to use while going through a flow of poses, enhancing flexibility, balance, and strength.
How to set up a meditation and yoga-friendly space in your home
One of the great things about meditation and yoga is that you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to do it. That said, you can maximize the benefits of your practice by setting up an appropriate space in your home. Select a quiet area with no distractions. If you can’t block out street noise, get a white noise machine. You can also use aromatherapy to enhance your meditation, using soothing scents like lavender to create a calm atmosphere.
Before you start, take the time to clear any bad energy from your home. Open the windows to air the rooms out and let in sunlight. Then burn sage to eliminate negativity. Finally, get your gear ready. All you really need is a yoga mat and some comfortable clothes. You can meditate or practice yoga barefoot.
Getting started with your meditation and yoga practice
With your space set up, you can start your meditation and yoga practice. What if you have no clue what you’re doing? Don’t worry. There are many resources available to help. We Know Yoga has a list of meditation apps, like Headspace and Calm, to help. You can also find yoga tutorials on YouTube. Just Breathe Mag also has valuable tools, like this article on sleep meditation exercises. With these tools, you will have the basics you need to get started.
As you ease into meditation and yoga practice, be patient. It will take time to adjust mentally and physically. Some people find meditation boring at first but end up enjoying it once they’ve adapted. Stick with it. Meditation for stress relief is a practice that you can use to beat worries during COVID-19, and that will serve you well beyond the pandemic, too.