Self care, Mindfulness, COVID19 2 minute read

Managing your mind during coronavirus

Mindfulness can be an invaluable resource at a time like this as it helps us navigate our thoughts and emotions more skillfully. This enables us to make better decisions and respond, both to ourselves and others, in ways that are less reactive and more caring, productive and helpful.


image-from-rawpixel-id-1224291-jpeg

 

One of the greatest benefits of mindfulness is that it helps us notice how we’re feeling. For example, when we notice we’re feeling fearful, mindfulness helps us check in and ascertain whether in this moment right now we are in imminent danger. If we are, immediate action is required. If not, we have the opportunity to take a step back and give our brain a break by settling and soothing our nervous system. Then, when we check back in we can usually think more clearly and distinguish between smart precautions and overreactions that may in fact impact negatively on others.

Mindfulness helps us create space around how we’re feeling and from there we can choose how we want to respond as opposed to reacting automatically in ways that may not always be so helpful.

It’s important to remember that our thoughts have a direct impact on our emotions and to be aware that our mind can often predict the worst. This natural tendency to focus more on negatives than positives is known as the Negativity Bias. The brain is like velcro for negative experiences but teflon for positive ones, so it is normal and natural at times like these that our minds will have a tendency to get caught up in negative, and potentially unhelpful, thinking. 

 

image-from-rawpixel-id-404514-jpeg (1)

 

By bringing mindful awareness to how your brain reacts to feeling threatened, you can stimulate and develop a mind that has more calm, wisdom and inner strength. A mind that sees real threats more clearly, acts more effectively in dealing with them, and is less rattled or distracted by exaggerated, manageable, or false alarms. 

 

Mindfulness also helps develop our capacity to tolerate things that are unpleasant or uncomfortable which builds resilience. It’s human nature to resist and struggle against discomfort and pain, however, doing so only adds to our suffering. As the saying goes – ‘what we resist persists’ and often intensifies. Building our capacity to tolerate discomfort, starting with small discomforts, helps us get better at navigating the inevitable challenges life throws at us in ways that don’t unnecessarily add to our suffering. 

 

image-from-rawpixel-id-473599-jpeg (1)

 

When we’re being mindful we practice in small ways noticing and being with what’s here (e.g. noticing and accepting the discomfort of a distracted mind when we’re meditating). It doesn’t mean we have to like or want discomfort, just that we get better at being with it. Like building a muscle mindfulness strengthens our ability to navigate pain and discomfort more skillfully. We learn through experience that, paradoxically, the more we can lean into and be with discomfort, the better we are able to navigate it.

Try the ‘Mindfulness of Emotions’ meditation in the Smiling Mind app

Or check out our special COVID19 resources here.

Latest

5 minutes with illustrator, Ben Sanders

Ben spends his days drawing and writing in his little studio in Ballarat, Victoria. Some days he illustrates for interna...

Self care, Informal mindfulness 3 minute read

Responding to the “hidden” youth mental health crisis

Throughout the 18 long months of the COVID pandemic, a parallel mental health crisis has been growing in the shadows. No...

Children, Students, Mental Health 2 minute read

R U OK? - Getting the most out of checking in

So you asked “R U OK?”, and they said, “I’m fine”. What now?

Workplace, Mental Health, Mindfulness 3 minute read

R U OK? - And are you really listening?

Attention - it’s one of the hardest mental skills to master, yet one of the greatest gifts you can give another person. ...

Workplace, Mental Health, Mindfulness 2 minute read
Quote of the week
“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.”
Pema Chödrön

At home

Responding to the “hidden” youth mental health crisis

Throughout the 18 long months of the COVID pandemic, a parallel mental health crisis has been growing in the shadows. No...

Children, Students, Mental Health 2 minute read

5 simple ways to get your kids into mindfulness

Mindfulness has many benefits for your mental health, which is equally as important as your physical health. 

Children, Family 4 minute read

How mindfulness can help during Coronavirus

We are living through an unprecedented and uncertain time, requiring each of us to navigate our way, as best we can, thr...

Children, Family, Parents, Anxiety 6 minute read

At Work

R U OK? - Getting the most out of checking in

So you asked “R U OK?”, and they said, “I’m fine”. What now?

Workplace, Mental Health, Mindfulness 3 minute read

R U OK? - And are you really listening?

Attention - it’s one of the hardest mental skills to master, yet one of the greatest gifts you can give another person. ...

Workplace, Mental Health, Mindfulness 2 minute read

Beating Burnout

We’ve all felt it at some point in our working lives. Looking up from your work to realise it’s nearly dinner time or ly...

Workplace, Mental Health, Mindfulness 4 minute read

At school

5 minutes with Principal, Tip Kennedy.

Meet Tip Kennedy. Tip is a principal at Richmond West, an inner Melbourne primary school that recently received its very...

Teachers, Schools 3 minute read

Which Smiling Mind Space is right for your school?

We are all influenced by our surroundings and as we explored in our previous post, the various ‘spaces’ in our lives are...

Teachers, Schools 4 minute read

How a mindful space can support your students

Since 2012, Smiling Mind has supported healthy minds thrive in Australian schools by providing tools that develop life-l...

Teachers, Schools 3 minute read

News

Partnership Announcement - Kmart

We are excited today to announce a new partnership between Smiling Mind and Kmart. Built on a shared vision of a happier...

Mental Health, Media release 1 minute read

Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System is a game changer for mental health prevention

Smiling Mind has supported findings released today from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, speci...

Media release 1 minute read

New mental health program to support 600 schools across regional and rural Australia

As students settle into classrooms for the new school year, leading mental health not-for-profit Smiling Mind has opened...

Media release 2 minute read
Recent initiatives
Screen Shot 2020-11-16 at 3.30.05 pm

NAIDOC Week with Jack Charles