11 February 2021

MINDFULNESS: From crisis to calm in a pandemic

MINDFULNESS: From crisis to calm in a pandemic

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an emotional roller coaster. It’s certainly not difficult to let your thoughts and feelings play a constant chatter of worry with so much uncertainty. Responsibilities piling up, motivation decreasing, and it seems like ‘normality’ is as realistic as winning the lottery…

Stop everything for a moment. Take three deep breaths. Feeling a little better already?

We know these are challenging times but worry a little less; we’ve put together a piece around mindfulness, what it means to you and how it can help through this difficult time.

What does Mindfulness actually mean?

Meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally.”

To put it simply, it means taking ourselves out of ‘autopilot’, perhaps mindlessness, and taking ‘the steering wheel’ of our attention, thoughts, and feelings again. On autopilot we tend to get lost in ‘doing’ so we find ourselves constantly striving and struggling and ‘getting stuff done’ instead of actually living. We then become more susceptible to negative emotions such as anxiety and stress - two very prominent emotions in the current pandemic. Furthermore, research by Harvard shows that the more we let our minds wander, the less happy we are.

Now we know what mindfulness means, let’s get down to business.

 

How do I practice mindfulness and what can it do for me?

Mindfulness is practiced by millions over the world, thanks to thorough research and widespread exposure of its benefits. It’s about creating space for oneself, through breathing and thinking. Here’s how you can incorporate mindfulness into everyday life:

  • Mindful meals: Pay close attention to your food. No distractions such as TV, phones, or work. Smell it, look at it, slowly eat it, paying real attention to its flavours, textures, and appearance.
  • Mindfulness in art: colour, draw, or write something. Let your mind wander in a painting or piece of creative writing. Focus on colours, designs, and words to allow creativity to flow and the mind to wander.
  • Music mindfulness: either focus on the whole song or a specific voice or instrument. Listen to every lyric, beat, sound, and tune. Focus on the true meaning of the piece.

If you’re able to dedicate specific time to the practice of mindfulness, then here is something to get you going:

  1. Take a seat. Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.
  2. Set allocated time. Even 10 or 15 minutes will go a long way.
  3. Notice your body. Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, sit loosely cross-legged, kneeling, in lotus posture…whichever is best for you! Ensure that you’re able to remain in this position for the full session duration.
  4. Feel your breath. Follow the sensation of every breath as it goes in through your nose and out through your mouth out.
  5. Notice your wandering mind. Inevitably, your attention will wander to other places. When you get around to noticing this—in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes—simply return your attention to the breath.
  6. Be kind to your mind. Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back.

There are many proven ways that mindfulness can benefit you. To name a few, it:

  • Reduces anxiety, stress, and other destructive emotions 
  • Reduces depression
  • Sharpens your memory and increases attention and focus
  • Develops empathy and compassion
  • Improves health and boosts immunity
  • Reduces insomnia and increases energy both mentally and physically
  • Sharpens the mind, increasing your focus and improving efficiency
  • Improves your emotional and social intelligence
  • Improves health and boosts immunity

Why it’s important at Levy and what we’re doing to help

With such rapid changes and recognising that the events industry is naturally fast-paced, it is you, our valued customers, that remains our top priority. Our team are also going through the same challenges that the pandemic presents, both in a professional and personal setting. So, we aimed to start 2021 in a much more positive light!

In order to promote, practice, and get involved with mindfulness, we have compiled a list of mindful activities for you to complete each day. The activities are a mix of group and individual and are a great way to beat those dreaded January blues.  And yes, we are also getting involved.  Read more about Compass UK & Ireland’s You Matter campaign, which is putting mental health front and centre of our conversations.

We hope these activities will enable us all to be mindful of others, our exterior environments, and, most importantly, ourselves. So, join us in this journey to achieving mindfulness and wave goodbye to those pandemic-driven worries!