In the times of Covid-19, there is an alarming increase in the symptoms of anxiety and depression perceived in everyday life. As a result of it, people are getting anxious about themselves, their loved ones, their careers, etc. The most common cause of anxiety is over-thinking where the mind is constantly engrossed with sadness, disappointment, or guilt because of events in the past or it is apprehensive, anxious, and worrisome about the future. One of the key components of mindfulness is to train our mind to root itself in the current moment, live more mindfully in the present by’ focus on the things in our control’. The mind is cluttered with disturbing thoughts, thus, by mindfulness meditation, we train ourselves a moment to moment to free ourselves from distractions or judgments and build better awareness about our feelings and thoughts without getting caught up in them.
Following the Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness targets on ‘Knowing Our Mind’ where we discover more about our motivations, our feelings, and reactions followed by ‘Training Our Mind’ by building the capacity to be more relaxed despite what’s occurring around us and ‘Freeing Our Mind’ by detaching from unhealthy thoughts and practices that we’re holding on to by being non-judgmental about them. This helps us to reduce the running thoughts, lowering anxiety, and remain relaxed.
There is a strong biological understanding of the efficacy of mindfulness unraveled in electrophysiology and neuro-imaging research work. The brain undergoes certain structural changes gradually in neuronal connections in a differential manner; decreasing the neuronal connectivity to the medial prefrontal cortex (the area involved with negative emotional states like anxiety, fear, etc) and building new pathways to other parts of the brain responsible for attentiveness, focus, working memory, decision making, and emotional regulation. These findings are supported by electrophysiological studies where changes in the frequency of the brain waves from high frequency to low frequency in certain brain areas. This phenomenon is called ‘neuroplasticity’.
Thus, mindfulness is a practice that everyone can incorporate as a form of living by engaging in these methods for certain specific periods like brushing your teeth or jogging every day. We don’t require sophisticated equipment, tools, or gym pants to practice mindfulness.
Steps for mindfulness: Find a comfortable place and put yourself in a comfortable posture, relax, and try to direct your attention from the thoughts to breathing patterns, and engage in deep breathing exercises. The wandering mind should be constantly trained to build greater awareness about our experiences in a non-judgemental manner for a period of sixty seconds. Keep repeating these steps till you achieve efficiency.
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