Presently our lives are topsy turvy and we are dealing with the reality that the coronavirus will be with us for a long time. The whole world has paused. The new normal is one of uncertainty as our lives have been disrupted. We are unable to meet our friends, vacation, go to work, or school. We wake up hearing more disturbing news of the stock market, unemployment, rising number of cases, and deaths.
Before the pandemic hit us, we took things for granted. We did not value the simple things of life. Being able to walk and breathe without a mask, meeting friends and family, hugs, eating at restaurants, shopping at stores, have become luxuries.
Many of us felt fear for our lives and our loved ones when we heard of the COVID -19 virus, then came a feeling of frustration and irritability which led to the anger of being locked down. Gradually our communities have started to open and some of us step out cautiously with paying attention to social distancing and wearing a mask. Life has changed!
This has been a difficult time for me too, but as time goes by I have realized that I have to make the most of what I have. I nurture my mental physical and spiritual health. This lockdown has made me aware of my inner strength, resiliency, and compassion.
We are caught up in our busy schedules and many of us are unaware of who we are. During the pandemic, things have slowed down and we have time to tune in to our thoughts and feelings. Use this as a time of self-discovery, to dive deeper into understanding who you are. This time of self-isolation is to search for answers to get to know your true self.
Many of us are naturally anxious or unhappy at this time and find it difficult to move towards balance and peace, but it is possible. Consider making one or more of these methods an integral part of your life. They may help you with your own self-discovery.
Meditation: The practice of mindfulness, a practice for mental health and clarity. Self-discovery meditation could be done in a simple manner. It is a way to calm the mind and body with relaxation and to get in tune with your inner self. By regularly meditating you will be able to live a more thoughtful and introspective life.
- Find a quiet place with no distractions. Do switch off your electronics.
- Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
- Breathe naturally, in and out.
- In your relaxed yet alert state, ask yourself a few questions to stay focused.
- Questions you can ask yourself could be, “ I would like to know my strengths; I would like to know my weaknesses; who am I: how do I achieve my goal, etc.
- Or you can use one word or mantra such as discovery, belief, knowledge, etc to help you focus.
- Focus your attention on the mantra and drop into the depths of your inquiry where the answers arise. if unable to do that then bring yourself back to your breath.
- Feel the sensations in your body of each inhalation and exhalation and let it flow.
- After 10 to 15 minutes open your eyes and sit still. Try and recall if you felt anything that helped you understand yourself just a little bit more.
This requires daily practice, time, and patience to move towards the path of self-discovery. As you move towards this goal, meditation will help calm your mind.
Journaling: During this unprecedented time, try to pay attention to your mental health. Journaling is a very effective and simple manner of tracking yourself over a period of time. You just need a pen and paper or you can journal on your phone.
Journaling helps you look back and see your progress, patterns, emotional triggers, and what you have overcome. If you see yourself feeling negative often then journaling will help you identify this pattern. You can train yourself to write positive affirmations and think with a more hopeful attitude. It can help you identify your aspirations and overcome your fears.
I have found journaling to be like self-counseling which has put me on the path of self- discovery and getting to know the authentic me.
Walking: An exercise for our physical well-being and also for our mental health. Walking in nature, absorb what is around you through your senses Do not have any distractions with headphones or any electronics. Get more introspective and let your thoughts wander. If your thoughts continuously move to the negative then try and bring it back to the one thing which made you smile.
For example, you are irritated with something happening at work and it keeps expressing itself repeatedly. What do you do? While walking, observe your breath and focus on it, till you are calm. Then start appreciating where you are and enjoy that moment. When your mind goes back to the irritability bring it back to the breath and the beauty around you. It takes practice but soon you will find that you are in the present moment while walking.
Gratitude: As life has changed for us, it is not easy to feel gratitude.
Try and have compassion for yourself at this time and when you are able to do this, you will feel that you are able to express gratitude for yourself and others. Gratitude is a positive emotion and can help let go of the negative emotions which we feel during this time.
I have a gratitude jar in which I write the simplest of things I am grateful for. After a week I look at them and feel that I am fortunate in so many ways and this helps me move forward.
Mindfulness: Mindfulness is when you take notice of what is happening right now and when your mind wanders, then you bring it back to the moment. I urge all of you to engage in mindfulness throughout the day. Be in the moment of what you are doing and observe it and your feelings but do this non-judgmentally.
Some of us don’t realize the strong emotions of sadness, fear, and anxiety which the pandemic has brought on. With the practice of mindfulness, we can reduce these triggers slowly and move towards feeling more balanced.
Get in touch with your soul. Keep searching for answers, look within, and find your courage, passions, dreams, and happiness. Keep introspectively exploring till you find your true self. Go on, raise your consciousness, and be a higher version of yourself.