MINDFULNESS OF YOUNG ADULTS
Mindfulness is a way to grow up, wake up and show up. It is the state of being fully aware and conscious of one's inner and outer environment. It can also be described as a state of observance where one is calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and body sensations. But what exactly does this practice signify? Why do we need to inculcate it? The answer is lucid. The goal of mindfulness is to achieve a state of focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to our thoughts and sensations without judgment. Researchers all over the world have found mindfulness to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness.
Today in times of the COVID-19 Pandemic, stress of all kinds has taken a toll over the mental and physical health of each one of us. In the midst of this, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by hopelessness and despair. Anxiety and depression are becoming familiar terms, day by day.
If isolation, anxiety, economic uncertainty, and the daily onslaught of bad news generated by the coronavirus pandemic, are taking a heavy toll on your mood, you are not alone. The sudden change in your and my life was totally unexpected. Anxiety about the future, excessive screen time, restrictions on social life, inability to go out, meeting friends, disturbed sleeping, and eating patterns are some of the factors contributing to unhealthy physical and mental health for young people, in specific.
THE KEY IS ACCEPTANCE
The first and the most plausible step is to sit back, breathe and accept that this is going to remain for a considerable amount of time now. It is okay to feel bleak and overwhelmed at this point. Even as some countries and regions are beginning to ease stay- at -home restrictions, we need to adopt alternatives to hold ourselves. Acceptance is when you say to yourself "Hey I might not be okay in today's situation, but there are new things in my mind and heart. Many more new things to take my energy and attention. Things that actually deserve it." We need to understand the fact that it is sometimes in the wave of change, we find our true direction.
SIT BACK AND PLAN
Today is your opportunity to build the tomorrow you want. The pandemic has posed restrictions on a million things, we can still figure out ways to divert what is energy from fear, anxiety, negative emotions to something fruitful. Let us pause, thinking and planning our future career plans for a while, and sit with a blank paper to note down what all activities genuinely come into our mind. It could be growing a small kitchen garden, writing an article, or composing a music piece on your guitar. These could be things you have always wanted to do, but never got enough time and mental space to bring them down to action.
Here are a few suggestions to include in your list:
- Declutter your wardrobe
- Take a luxurious bath
- Learn a new language
- Sort through pictures
- Learn calligraphy
- Set a menu for a week
- Try stretching
Brad Wilcox, the author of “Continuous Atonement”, said “A personal journal is an ideal environment in which to become. It is a perfect place for you to think feel, discover, expand, remember and dream.” Journaling is a really effective way to study your emotions. Ignoring negative emotions is like keeping poison in your system. Learn to understand everything that you feel. The aim is not to force in positive thoughts, but to transform negative thoughts into something healthy, which makes you feel good.
Self-love and compassion are the keys to mental health and wellbeing. Most of the time, we young adults are so hard on ourselves due to the daily hustle-bustle of our lives. We are always driven by a desire to excel and do everything right, at all times. This entails a lot of criticism and that persecutory inner voice that constantly tells how we could have done things better. This is a clear hallmark of perfectionism. Studies have shown that perfectionists are at higher risk of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression and that self-love and compassion might free us from this grip. Therefore, perfectionism and self-compassion are inextricably linked.
Try out the following ideas to give yourself a lovely experience:
- Take up a social media detox
- Practice gratitude
- Make a vision board
- Write a love letter to yourself
- Re-decorate your room
- Find a new affirmation for this week
- Try reading a holy book
- Print your favorite photos
- Get dressed up for no reason
YOU ARE ALONE BUT NOT LONELY
Loneliness can be normal. It is okay to feel empty and crave human contact nowadays. According to a survey of young -aged people in the UK,18 to 24-year-olds are most likely to experience loneliness since the lockdown began. Before lockdown, 1 in 6 (16%) said that they felt lonely. Since lockdown, young people are almost three times more likely to have experienced loneliness, with almost half (44%) feeling this way. Short-term feelings of loneliness were fairly commonly seen even before the lockdown and social distancing. However, the longer the pandemic goes on, the more these feelings are likely to become a long-term concern. It poses a risk of certain mental health problems including depression, anxiety, and increased stress. The long-term impact of this can be very hard to manage. Considering today's situation, it is important that we learn to adapt to this unfortunate situation and find new ways to stay in touch with each other during this time. We are well familiar with connecting to our family and friends via the internet but what we forget, is the need to connect to our own selves. The most important connection that we hold, is the connection with our own soul.
INTROSPECT AND MEDITATE
Psychology defines introspection, as the art of observing one's own conscious thoughts and feelings. It creates a rich environment for personal growth and creativity. It is considered to be a process of healthy self-exploration, examination, and reflection which is good for our mental and physical wellbeing. You can try this step-by-step guide to experience the blissful state of introspection.
- Create a quiet space
- Ask yourself deep open-ended questions.
(E.g. Where am I? How am I feeling? Where will I see myself after a month, a year, ten years?)
- See what comes up into your mind without judgments or filters.
- Sit with the notebook and noted down.
- Draw, paint, write or sketch, immediately.
- Reflect and repeat this process.
Now, you have understood the essence of being mindful. It is nothing but being conscious in the present moment. It is the intentional use of attention. The best way to take care of your future is to take care of the present moment. Be where you are, what you are doing, what you are feeling. Live and enjoy every moment.