The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now recommending that we wear cloth masks when out in public, and all Telecare staff are required to wear a mask, especially when providing direct-care services. The experience of constantly wearing a face mask can be unfamiliar and down-right unpleasant for some.
But there can be an added benefit beyond preventing infection.
In mindfulness meditation, focus on the breath is considered the mental “anchor” that prevents the mind from wandering.
Generally, the instructions are to focus on the coolness of the air as it enters your nostrils, and the warmth of the air as it leaves. These sensations are usually very subtle and don’t really grab your attention.
But when wearing a mask, the sensations experienced during the simple act of breathing are amplified!
Below are the instructions for “Mindfulness Meditation Made Easy” from Harvard University.
Find a quiet space. Using a cushion or chair, sit up straight but not stiff. Allow your head and shoulders to rest comfortably and place your hands on the tops of your legs with upper arms at your side.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax. Feel the rise and fall of your chest and the expansion and contraction of your belly. With each breath notice the coolness as it enters and the warmth as it exits. Don’t control the breath but follow its natural flow.
Thoughts will try to pull your attention away from the breath. Notice them, but don’t pass judgment. Gently return your focus on your breath. Some people count their breaths to stay focused.
Daily practice will provide the most benefits. It can be 10 minutes per day, however, 20 minutes twice a day is often recommended for maximum benefits. Try practicing this simple activity while wearing a face mask and let the new sensations be the focus.