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Mindfulness: How to face anxiety in 'new normal'

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, July 16, 2020  /  02:37 pm
Mindfulness: How to face anxiety in 'new normal'

Practicing mindfulness could help overcome anxiety amid the "new normal". (Shutterstock/File)

In the "new normal", everything in our daily lives seems to have shifted. Things we may have taken for granted or we have come to rely on, such as eating out or doing grocery shopping, have to be reassessed or adjusted. Change may feel like the only thing that is constant in this period.

Some people seem to be able to cope with these changes, while others find it more difficult. Living with uncertainty in a period that we have never experienced before may lead to a feeling of anxiety.

Mindfulness and meditation practitioner Adjie Santosoputro said it was normal for people to feel anxious at a time like this, as such a feeling often arises when we try to keep everything under control.

“Anxiety is unique because we have to be aware of it. We shouldn’t be overly anxious, but at the same time we also shouldn’t not be anxious at all,” Adjie said during a webinar titled Healthy Hydration and Mindfulness to Reduce Anxiety When Facing the “New Normal” by Aqua on June 25.

Speaking on a separate occasion, clinical psychologist Naomi Tobing of weight loss clinic Lighthouse said that new routines that must be practiced in this era could make people stressful.

“We don’t know when this pandemic will end and we don’t know how long we have to live like this,” Naomi said during a webinar titled Getting Ready and Growing While Facing the “New Normal” on June 26. “We can’t control other people who don't wear masks. We can warn them, but we can’t do that all the time. We get nervous when we spot large crowds, we’re afraid that other people may be carriers and we feel unsafe when we go outside.”

Read also: Three stages of emotion on COVID-19 journey: Where are you now?

Learning to be mindful is necessary especially in this period, including taking the time to find peace and joy. Lack of mindfulness can also influence our physical and mental health as well as our relations to others.

“People who are mindful and calm know that everything cannot be controlled. There are things that must be let go,” Adjie said. “We have to train ourselves to be mindful, spend some time to sit in silence and be aware of our breath. Though it may seem simple, it’ll gradually train our mind. When we’re mindful, we will be more forgiving. The key is self-awareness.”

Adjie suggested practicing mindful breathing at least once a day for a minimum of five minutes. With mindful breathing, people are encouraged to be aware of their breaths by inhaling and exhaling air several times. “Relax and focus on our breathing rhythm,” Adjie said. “I also suggest drinking water prior to and after the practice as it can drain their energy.”

Naomi also recommended several tips to overcome anxiety in this period. They include making thorough preparation at least one week beforehand if they need to go outside, lowering their expectations of other people, focusing on what they can control by following health protocols, meditating for at least five minutes, eating nutritious foods and getting some rest.

“It’s normal to feel bored with the repetitive activities,” said Naomi. “It’s OK to have me-time. You are surrounded by your family at home and you have to constantly meet them. Communicate with them [about me-time] or write a mood journal.”

Naomi added that if anxiety feels more like an interruption in day-to-day life, to the point that doing activities is no longer possible, it is suggested to ask for professional help. (wng)  

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