As we settle into the 5th... or 6th.. (or more) week of voluntary or mandatory stay home orders, how are you feeling? Have you taken the time to really notice?
With the weeks are turning into months, how have your thoughts and feeling evolved?
You may have started this period feeling afraid, or frustrated, or optimistic, or thinking it wouldn’t be so bad.
After weeks and no real foreseeable end in sight, maybe some of those feelings have changed. Maybe you’ve settled in to a routine and feel like you’re managing it… maybe you’re feeling even more helpless and out of control… maybe you don’t even know what you feel because every day brings something different… or maybe you’re not even taking time to define how you feel.
When the body is under stress, either acute or chronic, the fight or flight response is triggered and our brains react as if we’re under attack. The brain doesn’t distinguish between real or perceived threats, so just the worry of a bad thing possibly happening triggers the same stress response as the bad thing actually happening.
So how can yoga, and meditation help?
Well, let’s start by looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This diagram, created by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation," addresses the 5 basic levels of human needs and motivation. It shows that before we can reach the higher levels of spiritual and psychological self-actualization - becoming the best version of ourselves and living out our life’s purpose - we first must have our basic needs met.
When these most basic needs for food, shelter, and survival are met, then we can focus on safety and security, and when that layer is in place, we can then focus on social connections, friendships, intimacy, and cultivating a sense of belonging. With the support and encouragement of that layer, we can then reach for greater accomplishments and status and prestige, and finally, with all of the other layers firmly in place we can do our best work, fulfill our lives purpose, become who we were meant to be.
But these layers all depend on a solid foundation, and with the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus global pandemic, every one of these layers has been rattled, and in some cases, shattered.
Yoga and meditation practices can help us get back to a solid foundation. With a focus on the present moment, not what happened in the past, or what may happen in the future, we can shift our mindset to recognize that right here and right now, we are safe. We have everything that we need, we are ok.
So much of our stress and anxiety, especially in the current circumstances we’re in are a result of our expectations not matching up with our current reality. What we thought would happen, isn’t happening. And our thought that something has gone wrong creates frustration, and disappointment, and anger.
If instead, we’re able to accept the reality of our current situation - we don’t have to like it, but if we can accept that nothing has gone wrong, it’s not what we all thought would happen, but it’s what was always meant to happen, we can sort of see it not as a disaster in most cases, but simply a plot twist. And with this plot twist, an opportunity to become an even better, more adaptable version of ourselves. But first, we have to make sure our foundation is solid.
I've created some tools to share with you to begin to incorporate into your daily practice. You can access the Free Yoga and Wellness Tools resource here.
You'll receive an email with the resources to download and keep for whenever you need it. My hope is that you return to them often, whenever you need to check in, re-center, and feel at ease.
If you’d like to chat about how you’re feeling, and learn some tools to manage your thoughts and your feelings in this and any circumstance, I’d love to help.
Not ready for a session but want to join the conversation? I'd love for you to join our Clara Bella Wellness Community on Facebook. It's a welcoming and nurturing space for women to learn from and support one another. We'd love to have you there.