As the anxiety over the challenging news these days is spreading faster than the coronavirus itself, it’s important that we ask what can we do as parents, coaches, colleagues and friends to help calm the mind, ease emotional tensions and promote overall wellbeing?
Recently I decided to ask our resident experts from The Miracle Project Company class – a group of neurodiverse teens, young and older adults – what they do when they are anxious.
- I take deep breaths.
- I go to logic – and tell my brain to stop over thinking – and look at the truth of the situation.
- I call a friend and share that I am feeling scared.
- I talk to my mom and she gives me a hug.
- I cuddle with my dog or cat.
- I listen to music.
So, friends and family, in addition to all of the extremely important and solid advice we are being given to ensure our health (e.g. washing our hands regularly, avoiding physical contact and close proximity and staying home, etc.), I would like to invite you to include some of these suggestions from the TMP Company class for easing anxiety, combined with the core philosophy of The Miracle Project:
Key 1: Breathe
At The Miracle Project, we strongly believe in the power of breath in easing anxiety. Here is a short but powerful breathing meditation that we regularly use as a grounding exercise before we start our classes and in meetings to calm our minds, focus our attention and operate from a place of peace and support for one another.
Start by closing your eyes. Take a deep breath as if you are breathing in health and wellness from the Earth. Let this breath travel all the way from the bottom of your feet, up your spine, to the top of your head as you visualize that you are filling up every muscle, organ, blood cells with radiant gold healing light. Then, imagine a radiant white light from high above your head beaming into every muscle and cell of your body – keeping your body strong, healthy and vibrant. Breathe deeply and exhale any fear and anxiety. Continue breathing in this healing white light for five long breaths. When you are ready, open your eyes and notice your health and wellbeing.
Affirm: I am strong, healthy and glowing with energy.
Key 2: Logic – Learn the Facts
Yes, COVID-19 is a bad virus and we need to protect ourselves from it. But this will not last forever. It is important not to get caught up in the hysteria of the moment. There have been bad viruses and diseases in the past and yet we continue to combat them, and science has continued to evolve. Some of the most dire diseases of the past are all but eradicated (polio, smallpox, etc.).
And while the number of cases of coronavirus continue to climb each day, so does the number of people who have completely recovered from the virus. It is important to stay informed as to all the facts – not just the scary ones. The anxiety about getting sick can actually flood adrenaline into your body. This weakens the immune system, making you more vulnerable to viral infection.
Affirm: This too shall pass.
Key 3: You Are Not Alone
Know that you are not alone. Call, text or FaceTime a friend when you are feeling scared and alone. Discuss what you are feeling. Ask them what they do to feel calm. Do something fun together. Listen to music together, play a game or do a creative project.
Affirm: I am understood and supported.
Key 4: Look Outside and Inside for What is Right in Your World
Remind yourself (or ask a friend to remind you) what is good and calm in your life right now. Science has found that gratitude actually strengthens the immune system. Notice when the sun is shining, listen to the raindrops, when you are doing something you enjoy, when you are having a positive feeling. Express gratitude for some of the things we most often take for granted: food to eat, family and friends who love us, shelter and comfort to keep us safe and warm. Take a walk in nature. Observe the beauty of the Earth.
Affirm: My body is healthy, strong and vibrant. I am grateful for… and list 5 new things you are grateful for every day.
Key 5: Stay Close to Those You Love
Although it’s important to distance yourself in public from others, it is still OK and important to stay close with your family. Give your mom or dad a hug or cuddle with your pet. Did you know that hugs actually strengthen the immune system? Hugs help to stimulate the body’s production of white blood cells, which fight off disease.
Affirm: I am loving and loved.
When you talk with your children – and you remind them to wash their hands, cough into their arm, etc. – don’t forget to remind them to breathe and make sure that they are feeling safe and supported.