Mind clutter. Brain fuzz. Sometimes our thoughts race faster than a Formula 1 car at the Monaco Grand Prix, rushing through our consciousness at a record-breaking speed. There is little time to think, let alone reflect. This relentless jumble of thoughts fills us with fear.
Can mindfulness nourish our poor brains?
Scientists certainly think so: Practicing mindfulness reduces anxiety and stress. There are other brain benefits: Better empathy, compassion, well-being. There are also several physical benefits, including lower blood pressure, improved sleep, and better heart health.
There is no better time to try mindfulness than now. Many of us in motion picture industry have been seriously stressed during the past year. The pandemic has hit our sector hard, and although we are all hopeful and encouraged, the future of our industry is yet to be determined . Mindfulness won’t provide all the solutions, but it might lighten the load.
Why Practice Mindfulness Now?
It’s been a tough year. And we’ve experienced the entire gamut of emotions. The initial shock of the pandemic, then fear, then hope, then fear again. The accumulated stress can do terrible things to our minds and bodies.
“In this time of COVID-19, many of us have experienced a loss of control, a great sense of vulnerability for ourselves and others, and a whirlwind of challenging emotions, including fear, guilt, and grief,” says the University of Utah Health. “With so many unknowns, we are left with no choice other than to live in the present moment, one day at a time, which isn’t so easy.”
In case you missed it: Mindfulness meditation is not only a relaxation technique, it also involves listening to our thoughts, our bodies, and our breathing. We learn how to stop our minds from wandering and develop new coping mechanisms for COVID-related stress.
Mindfulness is more popular than you think. Around 76 percent of people meditate to support general wellness, and 40 percent of Americans meditate weekly.
How to Practice Mindfulness
- Download an app. We recommend Headspace or Ten Percent Happier to get started.
- Find a quiet space. Put down your phone. Avoid distractions. Mindfulness works best when we’re alone and sitting silently.
- Mindfulness takes a little perseverance. Don’t expect to master it overnight. Think of it like exercise, where you see results over time.
- Keep an open mind. Focusing on your breathing might seem weird or boring at first, but you could see real benefits with a little practice.
Before You Go
The pandemic has heightened feelings of stress and anxiety for many of us. Practicing mindfulness might not cure the world’s problems, but it can help us control our emotions, focus our minds, and improve well-being. We have nothing to lose.
Remember, if you are experiencing financial or mental difficulties, we are here for you. The Pioneers Assistance Fund has a broad range of resources for theatrical exhibition, distribution and vendors exclusive to either sector, including financial grants and supportive counseling. Learn more here.