ETHNICPSYCHOLOGY.ORG Volume: 1 Issue: 1 August 2020
Becoming More Mindful and Balanced During Times of Uncertainty
Tim Trilioni August 2020
In a fast pace world, where uncertainty has become the new norm, it is important to stay as mindful and balanced as possible. But what does it mean to be mindful and balanced? This article will discuss ways to become more mindful and balanced, even in the midst of a pandemic.
Maintaining Mental Health Through Mindfulness
Black (2011) states that Mindfulness is “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and judgmentally.” Mindfulness can be achieved through meditation. A growing number of people have started using meditation exercises, such as yoga, to assist them in achieving mindfulness (Schuver & Lewis, 2016). Yoga prepares the individual for mindfulness by taking them through a series of stretch and breathing exercises. In order to reach a state of mindfulness, it is necessary for the individual to silence the noises in their head and focus intently on what they are feeling and experiencing in that particular moment. Noises (or distractions) from the external environment must also be tuned out.
Mindfulness allows for personal awareness, a deeper understanding of feelings and physical wellbeing. Partaking in mindfulness exercises can potentially assist with the development of a heightened sense of awareness and breathing control. Mindfulness exercises may also assist in personal growth and healthy breathing patterns that fuel the body with oxygen stimulating the brain for better focus and concentration. Mindfulness exercises, when done over time, can assist in not only having a better understanding of self but increase one’s mental processing ability in handling external issues and threats that may occur in life (Nodulman, 2019). Many people have found mindfulness helpful in allowing them to make rational judgements about others, think more logically in fight-or-flight situations or being more calm during times of heightened anxiety in order to better process information.
Building on Balanced Ground
Developing a strategy to maintain balance in life is another powerful tool in dealing with challenges and uncertainty (Haar et al., 2019). People oftentimes find themselves feeling imbalanced when they cannot readily find peace and order in their homelives, workplace and communities. Moreover, the stress from these problems, if not reconciled, can lead to falling into a Distress Cycle (see figure1 below) .
In a Distress Cycle, stress and anxiety is intensified and worsened due to problems building up and intersecting with older issues. For instance, imagine a driver getting stopped by a police officer for failing to use the proper turn signal. During this stop the officer observes that the driver has been drinking. However, prior to the traffic stop, the driver had drunk several beers. The driver had run out of prescription anxiety medication days prior due to a missed doctors appointment. In his mind, drinking was his way of self-medicating his anxiety condition. Nonetheless, the officer decides to arrest the driver and impound the car. As a result of being arrested, the driver loses his new job. Unable to pick up his vehicle from the impound, he loses it as well. At this point, the driver’s newly fixed credit is also ruined, all because of several unfortunate chain-of-events, that quickly spiraled out of control. Unable to make bail, the driver must now sit in jail, thus falling into a dark depression, financial burden and deeper into a Distress Cycle.
5 Signs to Recognize Potential Distress Cycles
- Constant tardiness at work or school that could lead to adverse actions such as being expelled from your program or fired from your job.
- Bills piling up without any plan to pay debt
- Relationship issues that have gone on for years with no solution in place to mend them
- Constant on-and-off bouts of drug addictions
- Inconsistent attempts at completing tasks that start to negatively effect day-to-day life such as sleep or eating patterns
As a final thought, there are ways to remain both mindful and balanced during uncertain times. Staying focused on maintaining peace of mind and mental health is key to overcoming many challenges that life may send your way. Mindfulness exercises that includes meditation and breathing exercises can help to calm your emotions and allows you to calm your thoughts in order to think more rationally. Allowing yourself to be human, making mistakes and not beating yourself up about it, will aid you in having the esteem and courage to try again until you get it right. Just keep in mind it is never too late to make positive change in your life.
Black, D. S. (2011). A brief definition of mindfulness. Behavioral Neuroscience, 7(2), 109.
Haar, J. M., Sune, A., Russo, M., & Ollier-Malaterre, A. (2019). A cross-national study on the antecedents of work–life balance from the fit and balance perspective. Social Indicators Research, 142(1), 261-282.
Nodulman, J. A. (2019). Using mindfulness to teach perception. Communication Teacher, 33(1), 11-15.
Schuver, K. J., & Lewis, B. A. (2016). Mindfulness-based yoga intervention for women with depression. Complementary therapies in medicine, 26, 85-91.