During times of radical change such as a pandemic, we’re faced with more and larger unknowns than usual. Remaining centered, present, and responsive (versus reactive) can be more challenging. Our identities are more likely to perceive widespread threat (to security, control, and approval) as we face these multiple unknowns.
Thoughts go through our mind such as:
Security: Will my family stay healthy? / Will we have enough food and supplies? / Will I keep my job or company? / Will I have what I need to survive?
Control: I need to minimize or eliminate suffering. I need to protect my retirement funds so I can retire on time. I’m responsible for controlling the outbreak from spreading.
Approval: What will people think if I close my business or let people go? I’m not doing enough to help others. What will people think if I don’t follow all the social distancing recommendations?
We perceive that our security, control, and approval are threatened only when we believe that they come from outside ourselves. So focusing on practices that support you in sourcing security, control, and approval from within is especially important during these times. Here is our prescription to follow to experience the equanimity that’s possible regardless of external conditions.
Sourcing Security, Control, and Approval from Within
If you don’t already have an established meditation practice, begin a daily 10-20 meditation practice. For daily practice, we recommend Headspace for people new to meditation, Waking Up for more experienced meditators, and Insight Timer for everyone.
Along with your regular 10-20 minute meditation practice, each day also do the following:
Listen to this 10-minute meditation: Sourcing Approval, Control, and Security
Listen to this 13-minute meditation: Locating Home Within
Listen to this 5-minute Meditation: Basic Breath
Listen to this 13-minute Meditation: Calming the Nervous System with Breathwork
Listen to this 10-minute Meditation: Enough
Listen to this 12-minute Meditation: Exploring the World as an Ally
Listen to this 20-minute Meditation: Conscious Compassion
After the week of practice above, continue your daily meditation practice and add more practices as you’re willing from the menu below:
Our library includes a meditation for each of the 15 Commitments. We think the following meditations are particularly relevant:
Yoga, Tai Chi, Martial Arts, Dance / Minimum: 20 mins
The core intention of this practice is to link awareness of movement and breath, not to get a cardiovascular workout. There are many online streaming services you can use if you want guidance. Find a practice or online classes that you’re most likely to stick with. Twenty minutes daily is far superior to twice a week for a longer period of time.
Fast walking, running, swimming, high-intensity yoga or dance, etc. / Minimum: 20 mins
We all know the benefits of cardio, both physical and emotional. Generating endorphins is a great way to support you during times of stress. If you can do your cardio outside, all the better.
As you’re washing your hands throughout the day, instead of it being a germ-removal chore, can you slow down your mind to the pace of the task? Can you enjoy the sensation of your hands touching one another? Can hand washing be pleasurable and soothing; an act of loving presence? Apply this mindset to all the things you do throughout the day—many of which are unique to this time—to care for yourself and others.
At the end of the day, write down five things you’re grateful for.
Reach out virtually to three people with specific appreciations.
Fill in the statement: [Name] I appreciate you for_____________ .
Artful appreciations are:
(1) Brief. One or two sentences.
(2) Specific. Give details so the person knows specifically what you are appreciating.
(3) Unarguable. Don’t use words like “always,” “never,” “best.”
(4) Whole-body. Find things that your head, heart, and body all appreciate.
Use the examples from our appreciation poster to inspire you: