Managing stress with mindfulness during the pandemic

Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 7:13 PM MDT
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A poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in March found more than half of Americans are overwhelmed, worried and stressed over the economic and health impacts of the coronavirus. However, there is one way that you can manage stress.

A Harvard health article claims stress is linked to many harmful effects in the body, which includes; high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, arthritis and depression.

Being on lock-down can be overwhelming, with many stressors weighing on our shoulders. One way to de-stress, is to use a tactic called mindfulness, which trains your mind to fully engage in present time by stopping you from worrying about the future.

“Worrying about the future is overactive mind, an overactive worrying mind," said Dr. Jamie Derrick who is an associate professor at the University of Idaho in the psychology department. "Mindfulness helps to reduce stress by simultaneously slowing the activity of the mind. So, we're not turning-out so many worry thoughts. It also brings us to the present moment. When we talk about the present moment, what we're really talking about is being in direct connection with our physical experience."

Derrick says using mindfulness is not complicated. Mindfulness is a series of mental and breathing exercises, which can be done anywhere. Plus, there are multiple resources that are available to practice the skill, like free apps and yoga. Most yoga classes have been moved online and many are now completely free. So, it's the perfect time you can enjoy working-out and practice mindfulness in the comfort of your own home. KMVT spoke with a yoga instructor who explains why this practice is so beneficial.

“When we start to feel worried or regretful, we can always just think about right now," said Amy Toft, who is a yoga instructor and teaches free classes online. "It's always helpful to always helpful to try to find your best self in a stressful time. Thinking about your breath, holding yourself still for a little bit, you already feel calmer."

You can find Amy Toft's free yoga classes on her Facebook, @AmyToftYoga.

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