By Dr. Jessica Kordansky
Are you feeling more stressed and anxious than ever in the COVID-19 era? These feelings can have unwelcome outcomes—whether it is insomnia, overeating or other less than healthy behaviors. While it is understandable, given these turbulent times, there are many tools at your disposal to address unwanted feelings and thoughts that are useful now and beyond COVID.
One great technique to calm the mind is meditation. Did you know that the average person has about 70,000 thoughts per day, and studies show more than half are negative? This is why quieting the mind is actually one of the most challenging feats for most people. We give power to the mind and identify with it to the degree that we think we exist because we have a mind. We get attached to our thoughts. But since our thoughts aren’t facts, we don’t have to believe everything we think! However, since our thoughts affect our mood, which affects our behavior and our interactions, it’s important that we start paying attention.
The truth is, we have more control to change than we think. Being able to detach, surrender, and just witness thoughts is one of the quickest and most profound ways to break free from unwanted anxiety and stress.
As a PhD psychologist, I’m here to say that it’s possible to decrease stress and anxiety and improve your mental health. Since you already know that much of what you worry about doesn’t even happen, a way to begin changing is to work on detaching from your thoughts. Becoming more aware of the quality and content of your thoughts, and self-monitoring (without judgment) is a way to begin changing your internal and external experience.
So how do you begin to detach from your thoughts and stop multitasking?
Research actually shows that we are less productive when we multitask, and doing one task at a time on purpose is considered mindful meditation and promotes productivity. Meditation is a tool that not only helps us detach from thoughts, but improves mood, concentration, and memory not to mention sleep!
Research conducted by Dr. Rick Davidson and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin showed through functional MRI imaging that meditation increased activation in the left-side of the frontal region. This activity was associated with lower anxiety and a more positive emotional state.
I challenge you to tame your Monkey Mind with meditation! If you don’t “have time” to meditate you likely need it more, and there are ample apps and websites to help you along! And meditation is always offered at the Sattva Wisdom Center!
Dr. Jessica Kordansky is a PhD Psychologist and has a private practice in Boca Raton, Florida. She treats individuals, families, groups, and conducts outreach and consultation in the community and to corporations. Since her website is currently under construction, check her out on HealthGrades, Psychology Today, Linkedin, and Wellness.com.