I hope this finds you in good health, surrounded by those you care for and who care for you, whether they are confined with you or virtually. I am writing to encourage you to practice a healthy perspective in the deluge of alarming news, worries about the future and tensions you encounter all through the day. Remember that anxiety is a normal human reaction. In fact, it does serve a purpose in keeping us vigilant in dangerous situations. However, heightened and constant anxiety, if unchecked, can lead to emotional overload by depleting our psychological resources. It will also compromise our immune system – the last thing we want to happen in such uncertain times.
What are our innate resources and how do we cultivate a healthy perspective?
Self-care – There are so many ways of being proactively engaged with our health, from washing our hands to going out to smell the rain, taking a walk or a bike ride, cleaning our closet, or accessing online free offerings for yoga, meditation, inspirational or spiritual talks, or reaching out and helping someone who may be in need of a little extra kindness. But also... Learn to extend kindness to yourself. Check Kristin Neff's video on Learning Self-Compassion
Gratitude – How do we practice “Random Kindness”?
Think of all the folks out there who are making our daily life possible, the doctors and nurses, firefighters, pharmacists, etc. Think of all those who have it harder than you. Ask your grocery clerk how they are doing today. Smile at someone. Practice a “senseless act of beauty” here and there, without needing to take credit for it.
Mindfulness – There are many teachers to choose from online.
* If you are new at this and looking to establish a meditation practice – in less than 15 min a day, this 40-day online program offers a short daily session in mindfulness and compassion that includes both a guided meditation and a teaching on a key point of practice.
* Spirit Rock’s programs offered solely online right now, are available on a $0-$1008 sliding scale basis. This includes retreats, classes, day retreats, and more. Give it a try! See the calendar here (including weekly sitting groups and Drop-In Programs)
* Rick Hanson, who has become one of my mentors over the past 10 years, has many available lectures on YouTube (e.g., Feeling Loved ) He also offers a free guided meditation, talk and discussion online, starting at 6pm every Wednesday evening
Humor – And finally, although this is not the first go-to for many people, it is important to look for things that bring a smile to our faces, whether bringing back to mind something fun that we did or that happened to us, or indulging in some stand-up comedy or some irreverent Monty Python movie… As for example: an excerpt of The Life of Brian, which may well make you want to whistle along