5 Mindful Ways To Connect When The Pandemic Leaves You Feeling Alone
If you feel lonely, know that you are not alone, even in the best of times. A study from 2014 discovered that one-third of adult Americans identified as lonely. The coronavirus pandemic has brought many challenges into our everyday lives. You might be missing family and friends, colleagues, or other regular connections you had. It’s natural to feel like this, and you should not blame yourself for feeling like you are struggling, now or at any other time. But, being alone is a skill. And, just like any other skill, you can get better at it with practice. Instead of dreading being alone, you can lean into it.
Before the pandemic, many of us lived busy lifestyles and, as a result, often put taking care of ourselves at the bottom of our to-do lists. Now is the time to focus on yourself and practice self-compassion. Simple things such as spending your evenings exploring new hobbies, enjoying long baths, or just spending time preparing your favorite meals will relax your mind and give you some much-needed time out from the odd situation we currently live in. Give mindfulness exercises a go. Now, more than ever, you need to take time for yourself and be mindful of your thoughts and feelings. Regular mindfulness practice can help relieve stress, improve your sleep, and regulate your emotions. Also, an essential aspect of self-care during the pandemic is being aware that receiving constant news updates can create more stress. Plan how you want to receive critical information and take mental and physical breaks.
Learn to live in the moment
As humans, we tend to focus too much on our past and future. But, here is the catch – the past is just a set of our memories, while the future belongs to our imagination. The only moment we have is right here, right now. By living in the present, you stop trying to guess what might or might not happen in the future. Instead, you stay focused on what is happening in the here and now. This approach will also improve your interpersonal relationships. By being completely present and focused on the person in front of you, they will recognize you are genuinely listening to them and sincerely appreciate it. Often, they’ll return the same act and listen to you more mindfully when you speak, making your relationship with the other person more substantial and meaningful. This is the idea behind Buddhist psychotherapy, an approach that teaches you to accept your past, stop worrying about the future and focus on the present.
Give mindful yoga a try
Mindfulness has always been an essential aspect of the physical practice of yoga. With Mindful Yoga, the main focus is on mind-body awareness as a way to cultivate mindfulness. Bringing mindful awareness to any physical activity creates an alert focus to whatever you are doing in that exact moment. This turns this type of yoga into a form of meditation. This practice, in particular, places great importance on observing your mind and feelings during your practice. It combines four kinds of mindfulness – mindfulness of mind, body, and reality – and aims to help you become more aware of yourself and your surroundings. The most important part is, you can apply this approach to any kind of yoga.
Acknowledge your feelings
Embrace your feelings. Doing so can give you power over your emotions. Tend to feelings of anger and insecurity. It is important not to think about feelings as positive or negative. Feelings can represent how you connect to your environment and signal what actions you should take to make yourself comfortable. Moreover, hiding from emotions that you perceive as unfavorable can make you even more scared of your solitude. Decades of psychology research have taught us that trying to escape a distressing feeling is a bad long-term strategy; it teaches our brain that we can’t handle that emotion, and our distress grows more intense. In a way, being on your own can be liberating because you are spending time with yourself. You’re no longer looking to other people for their attention or approval.
Stay away from social media
Social media may be the first solution that comes to mind when we’re lonely; it seems a quick and easy fix. However, many studies have shown that although they may offer an illusion of connectedness, our online networks make us even lonelier and more segregated. What you get from social media depends on how you interact with the Internet. Using Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and other apps to keep in touch with friends and forge off-line connections can add vitality and communion to your life. But if you are spending hours every day using social media mainly as a substitute for real connection, your feelings of loneliness and inadequacy will likely worsen. This may be because online spaces are often oriented to performance, status, exaggerating favorable qualities, and frowning on expressions of loneliness.
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