The little What's On book of how to stay calm
It’s ok to feel anxious, but there are ways to tackle it…
There is an ancient Buddhist saying that translates as “all that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become” — and in challenging times like these, it’s easy to get lost in the headlines.
We’ve put together a few simple practices you can put into place at home, that will help you fill the jug of your subconscious with some positivity, resolve and ethereal glitter.
Meditate on it
What connects Bill Gates, Will Smith, Katy Perry, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kendrick Lamar, Joe Rogan and Ellen DeGeneres? Nope, not that group selfie from the 2014 Oscars. They all meditate. See, it’s not just the preserve of beardy hippies and Tibetan monks. There are many forms of meditation, and some will be more beneficial to you than others depending on what you want to get out of it. You can find free guided meditation courses on YouTube that cover everything from insomnia to transcendence. For complete beginners, we’d recommend finding a few minutes in your day to practice the basic techniques, laid out in the above video by Russel Brand… who we realise kind of steps on our point about beardy hippies.
Read something positive
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Rebalance your media intake with some good news stories. Instagram accounts like @goodnews_movement and @tanksgoodnews only report positive, affirming, verified news stories. The page is populated with selfless acts and faith-restoring facts. Recent features include some Covid-19 statistics to be happy about, cute kids donating pocket money to those in need, celebrities reading bedtime stories, toilet paper exchanges, and community support activities. We’re not suggesting you get all your news from sites like these, but do yourself a favour and let some sunshine into your world view.
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There is no ambiguity on how experts view exercise when it comes to tackling anxiety and depression. Exercise formats the mind and stimulates production of the components that make up the body’s own happy chemicals. And just because we’re all self-isolating now, doesn’t mean we can’t still get those gains. Some of the UAE’s top gyms are offering workouts you can do at home. Check out our guide to some of the best available options.
Strike a pose
It’s not just a good excuse to wear athleisure gear. Yoga is a physical and mental expression of mindfulness, which is a jolly good tool for fending off negative thought patterns and building inner peace. Catch Dubai yogi Dina Ghandour online, where she’ll be leading you through an energising and enlightening form of yoga called Jivamukti. With studios closed in compliance with Covid-19 social distancing policies, Dina is offering virtual yoga classes on Facebook Live and Instagram Stories.
Try Tai Chi
You know what’s good for keeping a lid on things? Mastering control of the flux between yin and yang, apparently. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that combines fluid movements and meditative focus. Practitioners report benefits that include achieving states of serenity, learning basic self-defence skills and even some health perks. We realise none of us are going to become grandmasters overnight, achieving a perfect state of Tao, or ‘doing without doing’, but there’s still quick wins to be had in ‘doing by doing’. And you can learn the fundamentals with these online YouTube tutorials.
Pay it forward
Embodying @HHShkMohd’s directives to spread the values of volunteerism as a humanitarian and national duty, we have launched the ‘Your City Calls You’ campaign through the Day for Dubai app, calling on residents to volunteer in areas of their expertise. https://t.co/bAXd82rkzo pic.twitter.com/IIODju7EDP
— Hamdan bin Mohammed (@HamdanMohammed) March 24, 2020
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Many of the people who consider themselves experts on happiness agree on the fact that selfless acts and doing nice things for other people can be some of the fastest routes to fulfilment and contentment. It’s tough to get out there and make a difference with your physical presence at the moment, but there are still ways you can pay it forward. H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, recently launched the ‘Your City Needs You’ volunteering campaign, through the Day for Dubai app. Jump on, check it out and find out how you can be a force for positivity.
We fully acknowledge that feelings of stress and over-thinking can be more than just ‘a mild case of the Mondays’. If you’re somebody who’s prone to prelonged periods of depression or anxiety, cognitive therapy has been clinically proven as a useful tool against such mental states. Booking in to see a therapist might not be an option right now, but there’s a library of ebooks available on Amazon, Audible and other eReading platforms, that are downloadable at the click of a button. One book that’s frequently lauded by mental health professionals is, Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks: A Workbook for Managing Depression and Anxiety by Gillihan, Seth. You can pick up a copy on Amazon.ae for around Dhs35.