Thanks to a tiny virus, our lives are undergoing rapid change. COVID-19 is the great equalizer, as it doesn’t discriminate race, gender, class or culture. So, what can each of us do to lessen the stress?
1. Enrich our sense of connection without physical contact: Our basic instincts are to hug loved ones, shake hands, and touch our faces. Now we must limit these physical connections, so I would like to share with you a simple method of heart-to-heart communication. This connection works across any distance, from wherever we are to anyone anywhere anytime:
Sit comfortably and gently close your eyes. Bring the person you wish to send love to in front of you. Feel your heart connecting to their heart. Gently send love and care to the person from your heart to their heart. Feel connected.
Afterwards, you will feel more peaceful, and the other person will also feel more peaceful. If we cannot meet outside, we can certainly meet within.
2. Strengthen family unity. Do things together: Another source of stress is being in close quarters with family members for long periods. We are not used to such proximity anymore. Along with our independence has come to a culture of loneliness and a lack of family unity. Use this time as an opportunity to be together, to develop greater resilience and also strengthen your emotional connections. We can reboot togetherness while staying at home.
Internet-based technologies are important for us to stay connected, but we can also take breaks from screen time and cultivate family time. Enjoy a song together, meditate, watch a movie, share meals, and tell jokes. The connection we feel will help dissolve our stress.
3. Experiment with lifestyle choices: There are many ways to simplify, e.g. conserving groceries, fasting and being careful about finances. There are also many tasks to be done at home, like spring cleaning. We can also explore our creative talents and create healthy lifestyle habits. We can help elders and those who are less fortunate. We can be kind to others, and volunteer in our communities. We can learn new skills. In these days of lock-down, a regular daily routine will be so beneficial.
I am not trying to deny the severity of the current situation – there are many tragedies happening all around us. I am only trying to say that we need to accept and act accordingly. The more we accept, the sooner we will adapt.
And what is the ultimate technique for reducing stress? Meditation. Experience inner stillness, peace and joy, by taking refuge from the outer world in your heart.