Coronavirus Causing Stress? Try Meditation

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Meditation can be a useful tool to combat the anxiety and fear many people are feeling as a result of COVID-19.

The infamous coronavirus has recently taken the world by surprise, and has caused many to go into a state of panic. One way that many Americans are dealing with this anxiety is through meditation, which has been a major help. 

Meditation, by definition, is “to think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.” Typically, when somebody brings up the subject of meditation, most people think one has to be sitting with their legs crossed and hands resting on their knees to be in a meditative state. This is far from true. In reality, it is all about focusing on the breath. 

There are at least seven different types of meditation. The three most prominent are mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, and yoga. I have experience with the first two of these. However, I have not practiced yoga, which may be the most popular method of meditation. The basic premise of it is “a series of postures and breathing exercises that help relax the mind,” according to Everyday Health. This form of meditation is the most physical, while the other two are more mind-based.

Mindfulness meditation consists of focusing on a specific object or mindset. Commonly, people who practice this form of meditation prefer to focus on the breath. When practicing, one must be in a quiet comfortable spot where distractions are limited. Then, one should do a scan of his or her body and focus on how one is feeling. After breathing deeply, one gently closes his or her eyes and continues to focus on the body and the breath. There is no set time period – the goal of mindfulness meditation, specifically, is to help people clear and calm their minds. Studies have shown that this type of meditation, along with the others, is very beneficial. 

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Headspace is an app which has been downloaded by more than 40 million users.

There are even apps that will help people meditate. One of them, Headspace, has more than forty million downloads, and is a great way for people to get started in meditation. It offers multiple free programs for people who are not certain they would like to purchase the Headspace Premium Package, which allows users to unlock all of the meditation practices. Headspace has been a great tool for people all around the country, and has most prominently seen an increase in users throughout New York. In fact, according to businesswire.com, “the Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that they have teamed up [with Headspace] to offer free meditation and mindfulness content for all New Yorkers as a mental health resource for residents coping with the unprecedented public health crisis facing the state and the nation.” Other apps that are alternatives to Headspace include Calm and Insight Timer.

The Headspace app has been touted and endorsed by New York Governor Mr. Andrew Cuomo.

Transcendental meditation, on the other hand, involves a mantra, or a word or phrase, that one repeats over and over in his or her head for two 20-minute sessions per day. Typically, children who practice this type of meditation are supposed to meditate for however old they are. In other words, a six-year-old should meditate for six minutes, etc. 

Bob Roth, one of the best-known leaders of the transcendental meditation movement, has an instructional course that many people follow. Roth has been practicing this type of meditation for over forty-five years. Based in New York, he has been helping people all over the world master this skill and tune into their bodies and minds.

One of the biggest questions asked by people about meditation is about the benefits. Does it truly help you? If so, what does it do for you? 

I can confidently say that the answer is yes, it does help you by calming the mind, which reduces anxiety and depression. I started meditating just a month or two ago, and I already am starting to see the benefits. Like everybody, I worry, so to solve that problem, I began exploring meditation. I figured it would help me, although I didn’t know to what extent. The effects turned out to be major. I have become more focused on the present, which has brought much of my anxiety to a halt. Recently, because of the coronavirus, calming my anxiety seems almost like a necessity. The great part about meditating is that one can do it once a week for twenty minutes, or for an hour every day. One can contour it around one’s needs or lifestyle, which is what makes meditation so unique.

Also, studies have shown that meditation, after some time, allows negative thoughts and anxiety to pass. Especially in these times of uncertainty, the benefits can truly be beneficial. Harvard Medical School recently published an article illustrating the benefits of meditation, especially during these times.

Meditation is all about living in the moment and not letting thoughts, good or bad, overwhelm you. The important thing that many people don’t understand is that it takes time to learn to meditate. Being completely in the moment does not just happen overnight. However, with some practice and a little determination, meditation could, without a doubt, allow you to be more focused, calm, and emotionally healthy.