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Finding peace amidst the stress: How meditation can work during COVID-19 crisis

A meditation experts says just shutting your eyes, listening to calming music or sounds, such as the ocean or birds chirping, can do wonders.

The situation surrounding the novel coronavirus outbreak has many of us anxious, and rightfully so. But there are simple things you can do to find a moment of calm, peace and focus. Meditation is something anyone can do in any setting, and it can have calming effects during stressful times.

We asked Fort Worth meditation expert Miranda Jo Davis, who’s been practicing meditation for the last 20 years, for some tips.

1. First off, what is meditation?

“I think meditation is just simply the act of being in the moment, being one with moment, being one with your thoughts and being okay with that,” Davis said. “Meditation is about breathing, it’s about letting go, it’s about having maybe a different perspective on where our minds may go with the anxiety or the worry.” It can involve silence, concentration, breathing deeply, using a voice to guide you or even walking in nature.

2. What can you do at work if you find yourself stressed at the latest COVID-19 headlines?

“What’s readily available if you’re sitting at your desk is your breath,” Davis said, adding you may want to even check out the “Calm” or “Breathe” apps.

“If you wanted to do that for yourself, simply inhale for 4-8 counts and exhale for 4-8 counts. Repeat that several times. Use a simple thought like ‘I am calm. I am relaxing. I am letting go.’ A simple thought like that combined with your breath has a very powerful message for your mind and body.

3. How can meditation help if you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep?

“Belly breathing is an excellent resource,” she said. “Belly breathing is essentially just taking a deep breath, letting your belly inflate like it’s a balloon and then as you exhale, let your belly deflate like it’s a balloon. So it’s a very deep diaphragmatic breath, on the inhale and then on the exhale, that done several times will put you right to sleep.” 

Another tip? Legs up the wall, otherwise called a supported inversion.

“Just laying with your legs up the wall before you go to bed or if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go to sleep—it has a calming effect on your central nervous system.”

4. How can I make meditation work for me if I’ve never done it before?

Davis said just shutting your eyes, listening to calming music or sounds, such as the ocean or birds chirping, can do wonders. She encourages walks outdoors, both alone and with your family.

“Go outside and notice what’s blossoming, look at the trees, look at the flowers, talk about the colors, talk about the textures or just do a quiet walk with your family and see how that goes"

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