Fact: The date for a return to normalcy keeps getting pushed back. Fact: People are dying. Fact: This will end, eventually. But when?
As news cycles continue to broadcast unimaginable content through every possible screen, our minds, bodies and souls are under siege. Words like pandemic, lockdown, and school closure keep coming at us relentlessly. How do we protect ourselves over as this ordeal marches on?
It’s got to be mind over matter, right? At age 95, Dr. Gerald Jampolsky has seen his fair share of crisis, war and even pandemic. Fascinated by the power of the mind during critical times, Jampolsky, founded the Center for Attitudinal Healing in 1975, which is now Attitudinal Healing International, an organization that spans over six continents. He and his wife Diane Cirincione-Jampolsky, Ph.D. have dedicated their professional lives to the study of attitudes and mindsets and the identification and tools for the removal of the blocks that keep us from experiencing lasting happiness and peace of mind. “Your attitude is everything, and perhaps more than anything else, determines how you experience every aspect of your life,” says Diane. “And now, more than ever, it is important to not let fear and uncertainty control our lives because fear can be the most virulent and damaging virus known to humankind,” says Jerry.
“Amidst COVID-19, every morning upon waking, we set our goal to bring more love into our lives and the world rather than more fear. In essence, we remind ourselves that in the worst of times throughout history, some have chosen to act from love and compassion, focusing on what we can give under the direst circumstances versus what we cannot; focusing on what we can do to care for others rather than what we cannot. Even in the face of illness and death, we can reduce suffering and find moments of beauty and connection. Let us summon the courage to reinterpret our fear to be a calling to be better, to be stronger, and to serve the greater good.”
For many, meditation is touted as one of the best ways to adjust your mindset, hence we have selected three women who talk the talk and can offer a few easy steps to do at home, right now.
A nationally recognized thought leader on positive attitudes, Amanda Gilbert has a pretty simple solution to control your thoughts. “When I am meditating, or trying to focus, and my thoughts keep distracting me, Imagine them as true ‘thought bubbles,’ says Amanda Gilbert, a teacher at the The Aging Metabolism and Emotions Center at the University of California–San Francisco. “And I gently push them away.”
Gilbert conducts clinical scientific research investigating the biological and psychological effects of mindfulness and meditation and is a trained mindfulness facilitator with UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and a Certified Meditation Instructor with The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, among other things. Her methods may sound simple, but there’s science behind them, and they work.
With Amanda’s permission, here is her 3-Minute Practice for Shifting Your Energy.
Shift Your Energy
- Start by inviting in a deep breath. If you can and feel comfortable doing so, gently close your eyes.
- To begin, notice how you are feeling at this moment.
- Notice the emotions, feelings and sensations that are most predominantly with you right now.
- And just lightly—see if you know why you are feeling these emotions. If you already know and an answer easily comes, acknowledge this reason and let it go by taking a long breath in and out.
- If you are uncertain of why you are feeling how you are right now, that is perfectly okay, and you can also take a long breath in and out, just letting go of any tension.
- Now, invite in three more deep breaths. You can think of these as resetting breaths. Allowing your nervous system to completely relax.
- As you complete your third breath, place your attention on your heart. Let it rest there for a moment.
- Notice any feelings within you that are not of your existing energy but of a different energy—a feeling of ease, compassion, relief or relaxation. Or even a feeling of neutrality and spaciousness.
- Notice any sensations that are now here and are different then the one’s before.
- Keep your attention on these new and fresh feelings until you feel connected to this new state.
- And when you are ready, you can gently open your eyes.
Locally, Chicago residents have many options for meditation, including Chill mediation studio. “In these uncertain times, anxiety is increasing by the day. To navigate this anxiety, it is more important than ever for us to take time to connect with ourselves and with each other and meditation is an easy and powerful way to do this,” says Laura Sage, CEO of Chill, a modern meditation studio and online platform that is focused on making it a little easier for people to live less stressed, more mindful lives.
View this post on Instagram
stigma causes people to feel ashamed for something that is out of their control and worst of all, can prevent people from seeking the help they need. all of us in the mental health community need to raise our voices against stigma. at @chill_out_chi we have a community that welcomes the discussion of mental illness and doesn't shy away from tough topics. take the first steps toward a stronger mind by joining our community + sign up for our weekly newsletters. #linkinbio
Sage went to business school and worked as a private banker, options trader and as a director at a hedge fund for 11 years before starting Chill. Concurrently, she and her sister Halee Sage started a non-profit, The Lynn Sage Foundation, to fund breast cancer researchers. “We give doctors grants earlier in their careers when it’s challenging to get funding for unique approaches to combating breast cancer,” she explains. “The current environment will make it nearly impossible for these brilliant doctors to raise the necessary money for groundbreaking research.”
How Meditation Helps
“When we practice meditation we are encouraged to focus on the present moment, in a particular way, on purpose and without judgement. We focus on a simple anchor like our breath, the flicker of a candle flame or a yoga pose. The singular focus helps distract us from whatever thoughts are causing our anxiety, frustration or fear—at least while meditating. Over time, and with practice, we learn to appreciate the present moment versus lamenting over the past or getting overwhelmed by the future,” says Sage. “One of meditation’s lessons is about impermanence. Life can change quickly.”
Sage understands that now more than ever, we are all experiencing levels of isolation, and it is important for us to find ways to connect and meditate collectively. Group and guided meditation can be very powerful and provide a great sense of community. With this in mind, Chill is hosting complimentary mindfulness sessions on Instagram Live at 9am and Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
How to Help:
For organizations to support and resources to help you and others through this difficult time, check out our Better List.
More from Better:
- 7 Items That Will Keep You Polished But Cozy During Quarantine
- Panic Baking? Delicious Recipes to Keep Your Hands (And Mind) Busy
- Families Are Spending 24 Hours a Day Together During COVID-19—Here’s How It’s Impacting Them
Mimi Towle has been the editor of Marin Magazine for over a decade and is currently the national editorial director of Make it Better Media. She lived with her family lived in Sycamore Park and Strawberry and thoroughly enjoyed raising two daughters in the mayhem of Marin’s youth sports; soccer, swim, volleyball, ballet, hip hop, gymnastics and many many hours spent at Miwok Stables. Her community involvements include volunteering at her daughter’s schools, coaching soccer and volleyball (glorified snack mom), being on the board of both Richardson Bay Audubon Center and then The EACH Foundation. Currently residing on a floating home in Sausalito, she enjoys all water activity, including learning how to steer a 6-person canoe for the Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club. Born and raised in Hawaii, her fondness for the islands has on occasion made its way into the pages of the magazine. If you want more, she’s created a website, HawaiiIslander.com.