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Mindfulness in the Time of COVID-19

Middle School English teacher Mrs. Craft gave an assignment before spring break to listen to a mindfulness video and reflect on it with retrospect to all that's going on in the world. She explains, "My sixth graders’ journal assignment was to listen/take part in a 5 minute mindfulness video and then write a reflection journal. I was overwhelmed with positive feedback from every single 6th grade student. In this chaotic world right now where our students are feeling anxiety and fear, I think it is important to provide them some tools to help with this." We wanted to share one student's reflection that was particularly insightful. Thank you, Ingrid Braden, for your perspective during this time! (Did we mention she's in sixth grade?)

Our journal assignment for this week was to listen to a five minute mindfulness video designed to reduce the stress in our day and rid the soul of negative, harmful energy. In order for the exercise to work, I had to sit on my bed, put my earbuds in, and crank up the volume. When I closed my eyes and the narrator began to speak in a soothing voice, I imagined a cool, relaxing environment in order to relax my mind and rid me of tense energy.

As I continued into the exercise, tears rolled down my cheek. I was not sad or happy, but, rather, a new state of mind, one that did not have any emotion attached to it. It was clarity. The exercise was working. I was clearing the junk and trash bins of my brain and soul, and it felt like nothing else. All of the hate, displeasure, rage, greed, envy, and anger in my brain went away. It was hard to believe that just five minutes of mindfulness could have this kind of effect. The tears ceased after a few seconds, and the video continued. Time was faster than normal, I had realized, and by the time I had become slightly more conscious, the music in the video was fading out.

I looked at the screen. Only a few seconds were left on the video, so I decided to close the tab. I would have to do this kind of exercise again. With all of the announcements, panic, fear, and strong negative energy surrounding the news in this day and age, specifically about the virus outbreak that is taking over news slots on all of the major news networks, I think everyone in the world could use a break from the chaos and mass outrage about decisions made by governments around the world. What we all truly need to understand is that life will go on. No virus or bacteria can destroy us as a community, nation, continent, or world. We can all band together and destroy this virus as a united, not divided, nation; or, we can all become strange, negative conspiracy theorists and divide each other by characteristics that we had before anything was in our control. If we let a non-living virus that can only reproduce inside a living cell destroy us as a society and a nation, then we have a lot more problems than a microscopic virus. We must defend our elderly and our immunocompromised with herd immunity, and we can never let them down. As more and more people contract COVID-19, we sometimes need to be more aware of our mental health than our physical health. Fear is the one thing that spreads faster than a virus, and we must protect our sacred grey matter before fear and panic overtake our most basic, logical senses. In fact, if we show our panic through not only our actions, but, also, our loss of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and wipes, then the virus will spread faster and overtake us. It is not a secret that fear and panic help viruses of all kinds spread faster. Symptoms are more noticeable when you pay more attention to them. Not every cough and sneeze spells out the eleven letter word we are all primed to fear. In reality, we have to step back and analyze the true scope and reality of the events. So far, there have been 214 coronavirus deaths in the US. A lot, right? Not even close to the 48,344 suicide deaths in 2018, many of which were young minds who thought they were nothing special and thought that their future was hopeless. In fact, the epidemic of suicide remains the second leading cause of death in the United States. Our nation’s mental health is in chaos, and this virus only adds fuel to the fire. Why is suicide not taking all of the slots on major news networks? We must think about the people not only in the US, but also in the rest of the world, in places like Italy and Australia, who will continue to burrow themselves in the negative energy that could lead to horrific consequences, and which these golden mindfulness exercises could help these people to rid themselves of. So, as a world, country, state, city, and town, let us all take a breath and close our eyes. This world needs something that these mindfulness creators on YouTube are pumping out. We must all look at this virus as a tiny hurdle in which the world will be able to jump over. We can do it, and do it with pride. Keep your social distance, stay at home, and enjoy quarantine. Listen to your favorite songs or watch your favorite flicks to relax, and practice mindfulness. If we take necessary precautions and fight the fear, we will come out of this stronger.

 

You can try the guided meditation that inspired Ingrid's words by clicking this video link: