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Practising mindfulness and staying positive during the COVID-19 pandemic

It can be difficult not to worry and to focus on the positives at the moment, here are some tips that may help


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in news


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We are in an uncertain situation which can make it tough to focus on the positives and the things that we can do to look after ourselves right now. Practising mindfulness and making an effort to stay positive as much as possible can be helpful.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a useful way of helping us to stay in the present moment. It helps us to focus on what is going on for us right now. We tend to get caught up in our thoughts and sometimes spend a lot of time thinking about the past or worrying about the future. This can be unhelpful as a lot of the things we think about we cannot control or change which makes us feel stressed or worried.

How can mindfulness help me during the pandemic?

Mindfulness allows us to be aware of our thoughts and worries. Awareness gives us a certain distance from them, which is far healthier than getting lost in them. In the current pandemic, we may worry about things such as how much other people are following social distancing or washing their hands, even though we can’t control this. However, you can control how you follow the guidelines and set a positive example for those close to you. By focusing on what you can control rather than what you can’t, it can help to manage anxiety you may have about COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Mindfulness also encourages you to focus on your breath which can help to reduce stress and tension you may be feeling. Alternatively you could focus on whatever you are physically doing or on the feeling of your feet against the floor.

Practising mindfulness

Mindfulness can be practised in pretty much any situation. Most people who practise mindfulness tend to take some time to themselves each day. When trying to be mindful, figure out what works best for you. You might prefer taking a short mindful walk, making sure you follow the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) restrictions, rather than sitting quietly by yourself focusing on your breath.

There are plenty of online resources and apps you can download to help you practise mindfulness. Headspace is an app which has short mindfulness sessions you can practise over time. Insight Timer also has many free mindfulness sessions. Mindfulness sessions can also be found on YouTube and many people are running live mindfulness practices on social media during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

What kind of things can help me to focus on the positives?

Here are some things you can try to help you stay positive:

Gratitude

Gratitude is when we focus on the things we have in our lives to be thankful for. This can be acknowledging little things such as the support from a family member, being able to have a video call with our friends or being able to make a nice meal for ourselves. It’s important that when things are changing a lot around us we are grateful for the little things that keep us going each day. Keeping a gratitude journal and noting three things you are grateful for each day is a good way of doing this. The scientific research shows that gratitude is good for our mental health.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is a way of noticing thoughts we may be having that are affecting our feelings or behaviour in a negative way. It involves looking at how we can change these thoughts to allow us to feel better. Some organisations, such as Aware, offer online CBT through their Life Skills online programme. There is also an app called MoodGym where you can try out some CBT techniques for yourself.

Talk to someone

If you are struggling to see the positives in your life at the moment, talking to a family member, friend or loved one can really help. Other people can have a different perspective and can help us see positives that we may not have thought of ourselves. We can also learn tips from others as to how they stay positive:read our volunteer Méabh’s experience of practising positivity.


What should I do when I’m struggling to stay positive?

Remember that it’s normal not to feel positive all the time and it does not mean there is something wrong with you if you don’t. We are in a situation at the moment that none of us could have prepared for so it’s okay if you are worried at times. If this worry is making you feel overwhelmed, talk to someone about how you are feeling. There are plenty of mental health supports that are still available to you during Covid-19 (Coronavirus).

You can also use our text service for support.

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Published April 3rd2020
Last updated Octo­ber 22nd2020
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
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