Our brains are designed for survival and are hard-wired for a negativity bias. This causes us to hyper-focus on the threats, and see more and more negative. Our brains naturally focus on the worse case scenario. Unfortunately, as we experience this on-going stress, we compromise our bodies ability to be at an optimal state of health, which is the opposite of what we need right now.
Spiritual nourishment and practices are even more important at this moment in time. Taking time to be mindful, to pause, reflect, exercise wisdom, courage and compassion to ourselves and to others. There are a lot of simple practices that can help to reduce the stress and anxiety, boost our immune system and cultivate resilience in the face of our current situation.
Two quick and easy practices that serve to not only reduce stress, but also to send out waves of healing energy, love and kindness into the world are a loving kindness (Metta) meditation and a heart connection meditation (heart-brain coherence). I've included easy to follow instructions on performing these quick meditations below this post. Doing them in succession with each other is powerful.
We are all being asked to be generous and compassionate at this time. To modify our behavior for the greater good, especially for those in our society who are most vulnerable to this disease. Remembering our common humanity and showing ourselves and others the gift of compassion. We are all being reminded of our interdependence and interconnectedness. Go easy on yourself and on others.
Something we can all do from our homes is to give ourselves some love, kindness and compassion and to send it out by practicing a loving kindness meditation. I invite us all to collectively send out lots of love, kindness and compassion into the world. A crisis like this can bring out the best and the worst in people. I believe it's important to stop and ask ourself...what is it bringing out in me? During this time of uncertainty and "social distancing" I'll be sending out lots of love and healing energy to you and to the world. Be well.
Heart Connection Technique (heart-brain coherence)
Step 1: Focus Your Heart
Action: Allow your awareness to move from your mind to the area of your heart.
Result: This sends a signal to your heart that a shift has taken place—you are no longer engaged in the world around you and are now becoming aware of the world within you.
Step 2: Slow Your Breathing
Action: Begin to breathe a little more slowly than usual, allowing five to six seconds for your inhale and exhale.
Result: This simple step sends a second signal to your body that you are safe and in a place that supports your process. Deep, slow breathing has long been known to stimulate a relaxation response of the nervous system.
Step 3: Feel a Rejuvenating Feeling
Action: To the best of your ability, feel a genuine sense of caring, appreciation, gratitude, or compassion for anything or anyone.
Result: The key to success here is for your feeling to be as sincere and heartfelt as possible. It’s the quality of this feeling that fine-tunes and optimizes the coherence between your heart and your brain.
Loving Kindness (metta) Meditation
This meditation is the simple repetition of the following phrases:
May you be healthy and strong. May you be happy. May you be filled with ease.
-Directing them first toward someone you feel thankful for, someone who has helped you or someone who you feel unconditional love for.
-Next direct them toward yourself.
-Now direct them toward someone you struggle with, someone you are having a hard time with.
-Finally, direct them toward everyone in the Universe.