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MIND BODY PRACTICES:


For many of us, the uncertainty around the coronavirus is the hardest thing to handle. It is still unclear of the overall impact of how bad things can get and because of this it can be all too easy to catastrophize and spiral into a constant state of anxiety.

However, there are certain things we can all do at home in the midst of this unique crisis to help manage our anxiety and fears.

Mind-body practices include a variety of relaxation techniques to reduce tension

and promote health in various ways. The following provides a synopsis of the 3 most

common relaxation techniques that can be done at home to help ease some of the coronavirus anxiety.

Progressive muscular relaxation:

Progressive muscular relaxation involves slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle in your body. The technique helps you to recognize when your body begins to tense up and have a better ability to return back to a relaxed state.

How to do it:

Lie flat on your back in a comfortable position. Begin by maximally tensing your toes and then over the course of about 15 seconds progressively and completely contract the muscles in your feet, legs, thighs, pelvis, core, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, face, and head. Continue to breathe normally throughout this process. After all of the muscles in your body are tense, take one large, deep cleansing breath, and allow the tension to fall from your body into a state of total relaxation. Take several normal breaths from your belly and repeat. This exercise is particularly useful as a pre-bedtime routine.

Deep Breathing:

When you are stressed, you tend to take short, shallow breaths from our upper chest. This limits oxygen and increases stress. Deep breathing helps maximize the amount of available oxygen in your whole body, which sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. Deep breathing is one of the most useful relaxation techniques that is relatively easy to learn and can be practiced anytime, anywhere.

How to do it:

1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes.

2. Place one hand over your breastbone and the other over your belly. As you take a deep breath in through your nose, allow your belly to push out. The hand on your chest should not move.

3. Exhale through your pursed lips and let your belly to go in until all of the air has been blown out. Do not hold your breath at any point.

Practice this technique for 1- 10 minutes at least twice per day. Then use it any time you begin to feel tense, like when you are sitting in traffic, feeling overwhelmed, or dealing with a challenging situation.

Mindfulness meditation:

Meditation promotes physical relaxation and calmness while enhancing your overall health and well-being.

Meditation helps you slow down in a busy world and find joy in the simple pleasures of your world. Meditation is an excellent way to start your day with a clear and emotionally calm state. Although there are many types of meditation techniques, most share three common elements: a quiet location without distraction, a comfortable position, and focusing your attention on a particular thought or activity, like breathing.

Mindfulness is a common form of meditation that teaches you to focus on being intensely aware of what you are sensing and feeling at that moment without judgment. It trains your mind to simply observe various situations without feeling the need to act. Imagine this process as being the difference between running around on a busy highway versus sitting comfortably in a quiet place on the side of the road as you watch the traffic pass.

How to do it:

1. Sit or lie in a comfortable position with your eyes closed.

2. Breathe from your belly as you let your breaths come and go freely. Pay attention to all of the breathing sensations, like air moving through your nostrils, the rise and fall of your belly, and the relaxed state of your shoulders and upper chest.

3. When your thoughts go astray, gently return them to a focus on breathing.

Practice this for 1- 10 minutes at least once per day. Considering using an app like HeadSpace to help guide your meditation sessions.

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