Human beings are wired for survival. Whenever our brains or bodies feel threatened, our biological fight or flight response kicks in, triggering a slew of negative emotions.
In other words…
Our physical, emotional, and mental bodies instruct us to run, or take extreme action. ASAP.
Unfortunately, this new state of normal in an age of Coronavirus – without a clear end in sight no less – has turned our world into one big threat. We’re on high alert at all times.
Plus, on both the individual and collective level, we want to fix things. But we don’t know how. At least not yet.
With all of this in mind, I understand why one might question how and why mindfulness meditation –– a practice that asks you to sit still and, it seems, do nothing –– could possibly help right now.
But the truth is, meditation is arguably THE best thing you can do to ease your negative emotions.
Meditation boosts your resilience by teaching you how to be with what is–– rather than trying to fix, run, hide from, or avoid it.
Because when you meditate, you train your mind to be and stay in the present moment. To observe without judgment, and calmly abide by whatever arises.
This matters because life on a normal day isn’t easy, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic. Stress, anxiety, fear, and the like are at an all time high.
But when you meditate, you’re empowering yourself to navigate this mess with a sense of personal agency. To shift from “Everything is falling apart” to “I’ve got this (even if everything is falling apart)”.
Staying in the present helps you soften, create space for whatever is arising, and get curious.
What does the negative emotion feel like?
Where does it show up in my body?
How do I react to it?
This curiosity helps us look at our negative thoughts and feelings rather than identify with them. It changes our relationship to them, which ultimately disarms them.
So when you find yourself overwhelmed, distracted, and desperate to ease your negative emotions, reclaim control with these two simple steps:
- Focus your attention on your breath. Connect to the feeling of the breath as it moves in and out of your body.
- When your attention wanders (spoiler alert: it will!), simply draw your attention back to the breath. Begin again.
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