Stuck at home during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown? What better time to learn about stress relieving techniques!
Perhaps you’ve heard the term “mindfulness,” but never had the time to discover that the mindfulness movement is a direct response to our ridiculously hectic and stressful lifestyles.
Consequently, About Islam has designed the Salam! Mindfulness Series, offering you the opportunity to learn proven techniques for reducing stress and anxiety – particularly now, when so many of us are experiencing the phenomena of Coronavirus lockdown.
Allah extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. And they rejoice in the worldly life, while the worldly life is not, compared to the Hereafter, except [brief] enjoyment.(Qur’an Ar-Ra`d:26)
Do you need mindfulness?
Everyone gets distracted; it’s a natural test of the dunya. Did you know that roughly 41% of our waking hours, our mind is wandering? We are lost in our thoughts, thinking about anything except the present moment, the state we are in.
All this distraction and busyness makes it difficult to cogently function ‘in the moment.’ Distraction increases our stress levels; up to 75% of Americans reported experiencing moderate to high stress levels in the past month.
High school students cite stress as their #1 health concern, with minorities, women and single parents experiencing higher rates of stress. (Stress Facts)
About half of Americans are finding their stress getting worse and many report needing help learning how to cope with it.
The mindfulness movement is a direct result of these dangerously high levels of stress. Stress is known to cause a long list of problems. It impacts physical and mental health, as a result decreasing our quality of life.
The Recovery Village quantified the most common symptoms of stress experienced by Americans:
– Irritability and anger: 45 percent
– Fatigue or low energy: 41 percent
– Lack of motivation or interest in things: 38 percent
– Anxiety, nervousness or worry: 36 percent
– Headaches: 36 percent
– Feeling sad or depressed: 34 percent
– Indigestion, acid reflux or upset stomach: 26 percent
– Muscle tension: 23 percent
– Appetite changes: 21 percent
People may also experience: Sexual problems, weight changes, diarrhea or constipation, and forgetfulness or lack of attention.
Health professionals have long understood the benefits of using mindfulness practices in therapeutic settings, because they help with issues such as trauma and addiction.
Recently, institutional and corporate settings, such as schools, militaries, prisons and even Apple, have brought mindfulness exercises into their facilities to alleviate much of the suffering and improve productivity.
Muslims and Mindfulness
“The intentional and non-judgmental way of paying attention to our emotions, thoughts, and sensory experience in the present moment, with kindness and compassion. It is a practice of being fully aware of our experience as it is unfolding.”
Using mindfulness, or silent reflection, you bring yourself into the present moment. Consequently, being present helps you accept and control your emotions.
Mindfulness also gives you the calmness you need to move forward. Taking it one step further, “In the Islamic context, mindfulness is the virtue of muraqabah, a word which is derived from the root meaning ‘to watch, observe, regard attentively,” explains Justin Parrot of the Yaqeen Institute.
This brief video explains mindfulness from an Islamic point of view. It also illustrates a simple mindfulness exercise.
The narrator explains, “Achieving muraqabah means being in a complete state of self-awareness in one’s relationship with Allah [swt] in heart, mind, and body.”
Trying mindfulness meditation and exercises will help improve your physical and mental well being. Most importantly, done with the right intention, insha’ Allah, mindfulness can strengthen your taqwa as well.