Be honest. How mindful are you on a regular basis of the sensations that occur when you take a deep breath? Though many of the sensations that occur when breathing have changed due to the addition of a mask, as an act of consideration, compassion and gratitude, when we wear masks, we show that we are both mindful of ourselves and others. Here's a quick mindfulness practice that you can (safely) participate in while we slow the spread of COVID-19!
In mindfulness, it is critical that we are aware of our senses and cognizant of the sensations that occur when our senses are activated. While the last thing that I want to do is talk about COVID-19 because I know that we have been talking about this pandemic for months, I've found that practicing mindful masking is actually helpful in managing anxiety and getting grounded in what has proven to be a difficult time.
Sight: First, notice the appearance of the mask. What color is it? What does the texture look like? Are there any patterns? Do you see others with masks? How does this make you feel?
Hearing: With washed hands, hold the mask close to your hear. Do you hear any sounds while the mask is between your fingers? Do you notice any sounds that occur when you're putting the mask on your face?
Smell: While the mask is on your face, do you notice any smells? For a moment, notice the warmth that fills your mask when you exhale and the coolness that occurs during an inhale.
Taste: This sensation is difficult to observe while masked. For now, practice various breathing exercises and be mindful of your breath. Do not focus on changing your breathing patterns. Instead, take time to simply notice your breathing while masked.
Touch: What does the texture of your mask feel like? How does that texture feel against your face? Around your ears? In your hands? Being mindful of the things that you touch, be sure to wash your hands and sanitize frequently.
Now that we're mindful of our senses while masked, pay attention to the rest of the sensations that are occurring in your body. What thoughts are flowing freely in your head? What emotions are present as you ground? We have a tendency to go through our days passively. Instead of just going through the motions, today, I encourage you to be intentional with every movement. Take control and guide your body through these sensations. Be safe!