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

How to incorporate mindfulness into your work day

As we enter the blank slate of 2021 the question to ask ourselves is: how do we find space in our workday for mindfulnes...

Workplace, Business, Mindfulness 3 minute read

The importance of mental wellbeing in the workplace

What is your workplace wellness strategy for 2021?  If 2020 has shown us anything it’s that a sharper focus on mental he...

Workplace 2 minute read

Swap presents for presence this festive season - tips to keep you in the moment!

With Christmas now just around the corner, even though it may look a little different this year, you’ve likely begun see...

Tips & Tricks, Family 3 minute read

5 minutes with Associate Professor Craig Hassed

Associate Professor Craig Hassed OAM has been working within the Faculty of Medicine at Monash University since 1989, he...

Workplace, COVID19 5 minute read
Quote of the week
“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.”
Pema Chödrön

At home

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

Dealing with the bushfire crisis at home

With images of distraught families fleeing bushfires, blackened homes, dead animals and smoke-filled skies, it's hard no...

Children, Family, Parents, Anxiety 2 minute read

At Work

How to incorporate mindfulness into your work day

As we enter the blank slate of 2021 the question to ask ourselves is: how do we find space in our workday for mindfulnes...

Workplace, Business, Mindfulness 3 minute read

The importance of mental wellbeing in the workplace

What is your workplace wellness strategy for 2021?  If 2020 has shown us anything it’s that a sharper focus on mental he...

Workplace 2 minute read

5 minutes with Associate Professor Craig Hassed

Associate Professor Craig Hassed OAM has been working within the Faculty of Medicine at Monash University since 1989, he...

Workplace, COVID19 5 minute read

At school

5 minutes with teacher, Lucy Barrat

Meet Lucy, Lucy is a teacher at Methodist Ladies College in Mallacoota and spoke to us about how she uses mindfulness in...

Teachers, Students, Schools 5 minute read

Why mindfulness is a journey, not a destination

Mindfulness can be a rewarding journey for both teachers and students. But like most journeys, the benefits are greater ...

Teachers, Schools 3 minute read

What is the Mindfulness Curriculum and how do I teach it?

It can be tough as a teacher in the primary years to know how to teach everything in an effective and purposeful way - n...

Teachers, Schools 3 minute read

News

Productivity Commission call for mental health prevention focus

Leading mental health not-for-profit Smiling Mind has welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission Report into Me...

Media release 1 minute read
Recent initiatives
Screen Shot 2020-11-16 at 3.30.05 pm

NAIDOC Week with Jack Charles