20 Apr COVID-19: Forced to Slow Down
This post is not for those who are busy fighting COVID-19 directly or by supporting us by stocking our grocery shelves and providing essential services. To those I exclaim a bell-ringing, pot-banging, enthusiastic “Thank you”!
With social isolation, our agendas may have cleared up significantly. However, some of us may have a fear of stillness. When we’re forced to slow down, some suggest learning a new hobby or skill. What about doing nothing?
Doing nothing is not always easy.
While your body is still, your mind may be battling feelings of guilt or restlessness. What’s behind these feelings? Do you associate self-worth with productivity? Feel that you don’t deserve to relax? Too many distressing thoughts racing around in your head? Managing the thoughts that come up during forced stillness is not easy.
Doing nothing doesn’t mean you’re doing nothing.
Doing nothing means that you don’t have external distractions. Being okay with doing nothing means that you don’t have internal distractions. Being able to quiet your mind’s distractions requires practice. Meditation can help.
Meditation is the delicate art of doing nothing. – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
While meditation may feel like you’re doing nothing, you’re creating positive changes in the brain. One study had participants engaging in eight weeks of mindfulness practices that included meditation. Resulting brain scans revealed decreases in the density of the amygdala, the fear center of our brains. Imagine being able to train your brain to be less fearful during these uncertain times!
It’s normal to struggle with being forced to slow down.
It’s normal to struggle with stillness that’s been forced upon you. Balancing learning to be comfortable with stillness with distracting yourself with busywork may be what’s needed. Rearranging your sock drawer might be the perfect antidote to a racing mind. Other times, intentionally training your brain to slow down can be a great new skill to practice.
Could this be an opportunity to learn to be comfortable with slowing down?