5 Reasons Why We Should Meditate During The COVID-19 Crisis
Right now, things are strange. In fact, this is probably one of the very few times that we feel we can speak for everyone by saying that the changes we’re currently experiencing as a planet are seriously overwhelming. As the COVID-19 situation continues to engulf our lives, so too can the feelings of stress and anxiety as we take on these new changes. And while our governments are working to contain the outbreak and preserve life as we know it, we’ve decided to shift our attention to sharing some self-preservation tips in the form of good old fashioned, meditation. Here are 5 reasons why we should meditate and how it can positively affect our bodies during this time:
Manages Stress and Anxiety
Meditation has been frequently linked to reducing both anxiety and stress in individuals. This is because the act of meditation itself often encourages you to focus on one thing, your breathing. Just like having a tiny Marie Kondo inside our brain, meditation helps concentrate and declutter our thoughts away from thinking about the many situations that cause stress or alarm. Physically, by breathing rhythmically, we minimise tension as we inhale and exhale. And as we distract the brain, meditation also helps lower cortisol levels (stress hormones) in the body aiding in an all-over calm feeling .
It Helps Us Recharge
In addition to sleeping well and maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet, meditation can help recharge the body and even increase immune function. In a study with more than 1600 participants by the Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, researchers found that “mindfulness meditation appears to be associated with reductions in pro-inflammatory processes, increases in cell-mediated defence parameters, and increases in enzyme activity that help guards against cell damage and aging” . This means that every time we meditate, we’re allowing our bodies to focus on restoring all the essential cells and enzymes we need to help build healthy immune function.
Encourages Better Emotional Health
The intention of meditating alone can enable us to prioritize our emotions and increase factors of self-love. When we combine mindfulness to our meditative practice, we delve even further into understanding our inner psyche and wellbeing. Mindfulness as a theory is defined as the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to the present moment without judgment. This helps us break down feelings of guilt, fear or sadness as we dissect thoughts and gain greater awareness of our habits. As we potentially gear ourselves for a stint in self-isolation, this is a particularly positive and important thing to maintain.
Increases Our Attention Span
In a study by the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, researchers found that practising meditation increased the attention span of adults after only 4 days. The study also noted that “after four sessions of either meditation training or listening to a recorded book, participants with no prior meditation experience were assessed with measures of mood, verbal fluency, visual coding, and working memory. Both interventions were effective at improving mood but only brief meditation training reduced fatigue, anxiety, and increased mindfulness. Moreover, brief mindfulness training significantly improved visuospatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning” .
Many types of meditation guide us to reflect on not only our love for self but our love for others. Particular practices like Metta meditation encourages us to “direct loving-kindness toward ourselves then, in a sequence of expansion, towards somebody we love already, somebody we are neutral towards, someone we may have difficulty with and, ultimately all beings without distinction”. During this time of change and for many, uncertainty, meditation such as Metta can open us up to feeling empathetic and more patient to those around us.
Take Meditation Anywhere
Beyond the long list of benefits, the beauty of meditation is that all you need to begin your practice is a small quiet space and yourself! While some experts meditate for more than 40 minutes each day, studies show that by investing as little as 5 minutes to meditate and focus on your wellbeing, you’ll feel more positive, less stressed and ready to take on the day ahead!
As we all make an effort to continue self-distancing and isolation, we must stress that this doesn’t mean you need to be emotionally distant in any way. Our TotalFusion tribe is made up of an amazing group of trainers, staff and members and we encourage you to continue to reach out to us! And, if you’ve never meditated before, now is a great time to get started… can’t wait to hear how it benefits you!