Right now we’re in the midst of a veritable frenzy of action in order to protect ourselves and others from contagion. While all of this is obviously necessary, I’m also feeling the need to balance all this “doing” energy with some “being” energy. Even more than usual, I’m feeling drawn toward quiet activities that can help keep us healthy, not only emotionally, but physically as well. Panic and fear compromise the immune system as much as sugar and pollution. So while we’re all spending more time alone and indoors, here are a few things that can help strengthen the mindbody system from the inside out:
1. Use Your Hands
Along with washing them frequently, try cooking, doodling, coloring, knitting, cleaning, or organizing. Using your hands increases body awareness and decreases mental chatter. When you focus on something you are doing physically, preferably something enjoyable, you reassure your nervous system that things are ok.
Connecting with other people, provided you have healthy relationships with them, generally makes us feel safer. Rediscover the lost art of conversation with friends or family members, even if it’s on the phone or through video-conference.
3. Read a Book
A great story or in-depth research is a great way to temporarily take your mind off something stressful. Another lost art in our culture of memes and sound-bites, reading is a fantastic analog brain-food. Hit up your local library or have some new books delivered. Here are some of my all-time favorites.
When you’re anxious, meditation is probably the last thing you feel like doing. And that’s why it can be one of the most healing. Even 5 minutes in the morning or before bed can shift your brain in the direction of those powerful alpha waves, the ones that indicate the relaxed, detached observational state of mindfulness. If meditation doesn’t feel possible right now (it doesn’t always for me), you can still center yourself with a physical ritual. Some of my favorites include lighting a candle, holding a stone or a sacred object, tidying my altar space, writing in journal, or repeating a simple mantra. There’s no right way to center yourself. If you’re holding an intention of present-moment observation, you’re doing it.
What else are you doing to keep yourself internally balanced right now?