WRITTEN BY Paige DeRuyter
Paige DeRuyter is a contributing writer for California.com. A San Francisco Bay Area native, she spent several years living up north in Chico, California for her undergrad before returning to the Bay…See full bio
As communities across the world and in California mitigate health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are shifting our content focus and will not encourage any travel or social activities during this time. We will, however, continue to shine a light on and celebrate the many beautiful aspects of our State with the intention of being a source of inspiration and joy during this difficult period. We will also be providing tips and resources specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic safety measures in the coming weeks. Thank you for reading, and stay safe!
Feeling anxious during this time of uncertainty? You’re definitely not alone.
If you're looking for solutions to help deal with the unknown, look no further than incorporating meditation into your daily routine. Meditation is an ancient practice that’s becoming increasingly popular due to its ability to heal anxiety, enhance self-awareness, improve focus, promote emotional well-being, and much more.
When many think of meditation, they envision sitting cross-legged on the floor humming “ommm” and hyper-focusing on breathing—but meditation can take many forms. As more and more people have adopted meditating, a shift in the practice has occurred, providing new ways for others to get their zen on, even at home. Here are some tips for finding which meditation style works best for you.
Have trouble staying focused while trying to meditate on your own? California-based meditation apps such as Calm and Headspace can be your saviors when it comes to keeping your practice on track. Both of these apps are a form of “guided meditation,” which means there’s a narrator who leads you through the practice—similar to how a fitness instructor would guide you through a workout. While Headspace and Calm take different approaches to guided meditation, both apps are very popular and effective.
Headspace follows more of a “meditation-made-simple” approach, making sure all guided meditations are led in a digestible way. For example, Headspace often uses cars as metaphors for thoughts, saying the thoughts racing through your mind are akin to cars coming and going through a busy street. To make things even more approachable, the app offers meditation tutorials in the format of short animations that make meditation easy to understand and dare I say, cute. The majority of the meditations follow the same structure, beginning with a unique lesson about mindfulness to get you in the zone before focusing on your breath.
Headspace offers daily meditations as well as meditation courses that cover everything from coping with anxiety to dealing with change. Only have three minutes? You can adjust any meditation on the app to how much time you have, allowing you to fit mindfulness into your busy schedule. Nighttime meditations and sounds are also included and create the perfect prequel to a sound night’s rest.
Calm has many similarities to Headspace, providing daily meditations, meditation tutorials, and nighttime meditations. The main difference between the two meditation apps? Calm is much less simplistic than Headspace, given the diverse selection of meditations included. Calm also provides more variation to experiences by incorporating meditation sounds for an additional calming sensation.
Calm even has guided meditation sessions led by various experts and public figures; you can understand the basics of meditation with meditation teacher and author Jeff Warren or learn how to train your mind with basketball star LeBron James.
Mindfulness and social media usually don't go hand in hand, but there are ways to get your dose of zen right in your feed. Following meditation and mindfulness accounts on social media can be a super simple way to stay on top of wellness trends, learn new forms of meditation, and get small reminders throughout the day to keep you grounded. Here are a few of our favorites.
Oftentimes, people get stuck on the idea of what they think meditation should be, instead of thinking about how they can do the practice on their own terms. The traditional way of meditating (sitting and focusing on your breath) isn’t for everyone. In fact, as a simple definition, meditation can be done through anything you do, as long as you do it with intention. Meditation is an awesome opportunity to get creative since there are many ways for you to keep calm and stay mindful in your own way.
One of the most common ways that people are actively meditating is by exercising; this is an excellent way to hone in on your body through movement. Some people go for a walk or run without headphones so they can really focus on their breathing and movements. For others, yoga is the preferred form of active meditation, as it combines the best of both worlds: breathing and movement.
Tasks that require focus—such as cooking or creating something—are also great activities to help keep your mind in the present moment and ease anxiety. (Just be sure that when you’re participating in these activities, you’re eliminating or greatly reducing any distractions.)
Other people (me included) have found that self-care routines can be meditative as well. Try incorporating mindfulness into these routines by focusing on the touch, feeling, and movement of these actions, and see if you feel more grounded and relaxed.
Overall, meditation is an incredible tool that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine—in any form you choose. The beauty of bringing mindfulness into your life is that there is no right or wrong way to do it; it’s whatever works for you. Again, it all has to do with being intentional with your actions.
Staying grounded is more important than ever while we navigate through the unknown. Taking some time to quiet your mind creates less anxiety and allows you to fully show up as a supportive family member, friend, and community member.
Let us know what steps you’re taking to stay mindful during the global crisis.
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