As the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, naturally, so do a plethora of our concerns and worries. These times are unprecedented and all of us are feeling the strain of the virus one way or another. You could be an employee dealing with extreme schedule changes or even loss of income. Or an employer having to shut down their business. Maybe a college student being sent away from campus but can’t afford a ticket home. A parent in need of someone to watch their children now that their school has been cancelled. A doctor, nurse, scientist, janitor, grocery or food worker putting in hard work and service to our communities to keep us safe and well. The point is – it’s affecting many in ways we’ve never encountered before.
With all this apprehension in the air, it’s crucial that we don’t use social distancing as a way to harbor negative thoughts and become distant with our own self and mind. Experts say it’s actually the perfect time to practice a little something called mindfulness.
Mindfulness as a term alone has gained extreme traction over the years, popularizing itself in mainstream media. And for obvious reasons. The American Psychological Association has described mindfulness as “a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment”. In other words, mindfulness is a state of being that involves conscious attention to the present moment, devoid of outside opinions, reflections, and judgement. It’s a great way to check in on yourself – how are you doing? How are you feeling? Physically? Emotionally? It’s been known to improve our wellbeing in various aspects, such as regulating and expressing emotions, developing healthy coping methods, reduced distraction, promoting sleep, and much more.
All in all, mindful practices aid in managing any stress you may be feeling and find balance. The best part is that it’s actually quite simple. There is tons and tons of research to delve into regarding mindfulness practices, and many different ways to incorporate it into your day-to-day—but we’ve got an exercise we believe you can fall into with ease. It starts with picking up your Shyn brush.
Brushing your teeth is a routine we all regularly follow - and if you’re doing it properly - 2 minutes, 2 times a day. During this period, we often drift off, tune into autopilot mode as we aimlessly stare at our reflection in the mirror trying not to get foamed-up toothpaste on our t-shirt. However, we recommend taking advantage of this time to practice some good ol’ healthy mindfulness. Familiar with Headspace? The popular meditation app known for its guided meditations has provided some questions to ask yourself while brushing your teeth. They are as follows:
- What can you see?
- What can you hear?
- What’s the color of your toothpaste? The smell? The flavor?
Dr. Fern White, a dentist in Australia who practices “mindful dentistry”, advises to breathe slowly through the nose while brushing. Focus on your breathing. Or put your attention on the sensation of brushing. The way the bristles feel on your teeth and gums. With your Shyn brush, you can switch between intensity levels, note how each feels for you. Notice how the sensation changes as you move the brush along your teeth and gums. Think about the weight of the handle, or the texture of the brush on your gums. There are a multitude of ways to go about it, but the main point is that you are conscious about what you’re experiencing and intensely observing what’s going on around you. It brings a sense of stillness to the mind, and puts you in control. The bonus is your fresh set of pearly whites.
Does that feel like a lot? Simply being present is enough to help ease any worries you may have. Instead of being on autopilot when brushing your teeth, try this practice instead. When you engage in mindful brushing, you’re starting the morning on a positive note, and ending the night feeling calm and ready for sleep.
Like we mentioned earlier, COVID-19 is impacting us all in ways that leave us uncertain and scared - but for just a moment, don’t spiral down a rabbit hole of frightful possibilities. Practicing meditative brushing is a way to keep stressful thoughts at bay, maintaining your mind, and your teeth.