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The Benefits of Meditation

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people around the world are feeling a heightened sense of stress and anxiety. We are in an unprecedented worldwide quarantine and faced with a lot of uncertainty. The situation is changing from day to day. We don’t know what will happen to our friends, our families, and our livelihoods. It is a challenging time for us all. 

With all of the news stories swirling around and the questions we each face in our own lives, it can feel difficult to stay grounded and stay connected to your center. One of the ways to cope with stress and stay centered is through mindfulness and meditation. 

Let’s take a moment to review these concepts and their benefits. 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is simply paying attention. Paying attention to whatever is going on in this present moment, here and now. If you are cooking, pay attention to the food you are preparing, its smells and flavors. If you are eating, pay attention to the delicious meal you are eating and the company you are sharing it with. If you are working, concentrate and focus on the task at hand. If you are playing with your kids, enjoy their smiles and laughs. This is in contrast to the way we often walk through life doing one action while simultaneously thinking about hundreds of other things. 

Breathing Exercises

There are many different ways to use the breath to focus and calm stress. Some techniques focus on lengthening the inhaled breath or lengthening the exhaled breath, some focus on directing the breath into the stomach or the chest, and some focus on deep breathing

The G-Breath 

Practicing the G-Breath is a great way to relax and reset. Try this at home:

  1. Inhale mouth – exhale mouth
  2. Inhale mouth – exhale nose
  3. Inhale nose – exhale nose
  4. Inhale nose – exhale mouth
  5. Inhale mouth – exhale mouth
  6. Inhale mouth– exhale nose
  7. Inhale nose – exhale nose
  8. Inhale nose – exhale mouth
  9. Inhale mouth – exhale mouth
  10. Inhale mouth – exhale nose
  11. Inhale nose – exhale nose
  12. Inhale nose – exhale mouth
  13. Inhale mouth – exhale mouth

Repeat this breathing cycle 3 times for maximum relaxation. 

Meditation

The style of meditation that many of us are familiar with is sometimes called contemplation or focusing the mind on one thing in particular. This could be your breath or a mantra like “om.” This is a very good way to relax the mind and give it a break from thinking a million miles an hour. 

Sometimes people think that meditation is complicated or impossible, but it can actually be done very simply. The idea is to quiet the mind, but that is really difficult for most people to do because the mind brings back constant chatter every time you try to quiet it. That’s okay. Meditation is simply practice. Since it’s impossible to quiet the mind, what we do instead is focus on one thing, and bring the mind back to that one thing whenever it starts to wander. 

Benefits of Meditation During Quarantine

Practicing any of these techniques, whether mindfulness, breathing exercises or meditation, can help reduce stress and improve your mental health during the quarantine. Each technique has the same goal: to slow down the racing of the mind. Each technique in its own way forces the mind to focus and stop jumping around. This brings calm to the mind, which translates to health benefits in the body. The breathing slows, the heart rate slows, and the parasympathetic nervous system is activated. This is the opposite of the “fight or flight” response. Meditation and mindfulness allow the body to come out of a fight or flight state and move into a state of restful peace. 

Over time, the regular practice of bringing your mind and body out of a stress response and into a state of calm rest actually strengthens the immune system. This is because when the mind and body are in a state of stress, the body diverts energy away from the immune system to deal with the threat that is causing the stress response. When the fight or flight response is turned off, the body can redirect energy to the immune system so the immune system will be ready to fight any viruses or bacteria that come your way. 

This is especially important during the COVID-19 quarantine. We all need to try to make our immune systems as healthy as possible, to protect us in the event of infection with the novel Coronavirus or any other illness. 

How to Meditate During Quarantine 

If you would like to try mindfulness or meditation at home, the Internet is a great resource. There are plenty of guided meditations online, on YouTube, and on numerous apps. There are also online classes in meditation and online yoga classes. A lot of mindfulness and meditation teachers are now broadcasting through social media channels such as Facebook Live and Instagram Live. 

And these meditation apps are available on the app stores: 

Ten Percent Happier

Offering a free coronavirus sanity guide online.

Headspace

Subscription-based app with a library of courses from mindful eating to parenting, daily meditation, sleep sounds and bedtime exercises. 

Calm

Subscription-based app offering breathing exercises, journaling prompts, meditation, and sleep stories. 

UCLA Mindful App

Guided meditations led by Diana Winston, a former Buddhist nun and one of the nation’s best-known teachers of mindfulness meditation. English and Spanish. 

Whole Body Method 

Free Instagram live classes and Zoom in-home private classes. 

Insight Timer

More than 30,000 free guided meditations on various topics.We are all in this together, social distancing together! At Hotel Mousai we wish for everyone’s continued health and safety during this time.