Life in the time of corona. Many a novel will be written about how stressful this chapter has been for most of us.
It almost feels like anxiety has become a global condition with everything going on in the world. We are inundated with terrifying news and occupied with the task of guarding against contagions. Some of us are entirely separated from the comfort of being with other humans - while others are having to go into work and risk infection. We have legitimate fears of getting sick, dying, losing loved ones, losing work, losing housing, going into debt, or having other considerable changes to our ways of life. I feel some anxiety just writing this list!
Wherever you fall on the spectrum of coronavirus situations (even if you are cozy and safe at home with loved ones), it is totally normal and healthy to be experiencing anxiety right now. Friend, you are NOT alone.
Still, we'd all rather be relaxed and grounded through this crisis than spending our time in the grips of anxiety. So how can we calm down, get grounded, and wait out this pandemic in peace? Well, according to doctors at Harvard Medical School, your best bet could be starting a practice with meditation, yoga, or controlled breathing.
I've been using mindful practices like these for years to manage my chronic anxiety. It has been an incredible tool for relaxation and coming back into a sense of connection with the moment and with my own body. When I utilize cannabis with these practices, I'm able to go even deeper into that sense of calm and connection.
This makes a lot of sense with cannabis science because many of cannabis's most plentiful chemicals are known to relieve anxiety and promote emotional resilience. And this includes the whole entourage of canna: CBD, THC, and terpenes like linalool, beta-caryophyllene, and myrcene.
Could cannabis meditation or yoga be the perfect way for you to relax and ground during the coronavirus crisis? Read on to learn the science behind these practices for anxiety and see if they are right for you…
Harvard Medical School Recommends Yoga & Meditation for Coronavirus Anxiety
Harvard Medical School recently put out recommendations for people looking to relax from coronavirus related anxiety. Their main suggestion is to take up mindfulness-based activities like yoga, meditation, and controlled breathing.
The guidelines for coping with coronavirus were written by Dr. John Sharp, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School and the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. He points to these three mindfulness techniques as tried and true ways to relax.
When it comes to yoga, the data suggests it is a high-reward, low-risk activity that reduces stress and stress-related pain. If you haven't already tried it - it could be a most excellent time to start. As Sharp explains, "Sometimes trying new things and discovering new activities you can benefit from and enjoy can be a welcome, healthy distraction." And there are many apps and online courses available. You can even find Ganja Yoga courses and live streams these days, where cannabis is incorporated into the practice. Still, Sharp also adds that if you're not already a yoga person, there is "no need to start now unless you'd like to try it." There are other practices you can work with instead.
For example, meditation is another practice that is scientifically shown to help with relaxation.
Studies show that regular meditation can reduce daily symptoms of anxiety, increasing emotional resilience. Even someone’s first session of meditation can lead to noticeably reduced anxiety for the rest of the day. So it's worth trying out, even if you are new to the practice.
There are a lot of apps and videos that offer guided meditations or simple instructions - or you can check our guide to adding cannabis meditation into your routine. It’s as easy as sitting down and breathing.
Sharp also recommended controlled breathing, and specifically a practice called ‘square breathing.’
To do this, Sharp recommends visualizing your breath, traveling around a square. With your in-breath, you inhale while slowly counting to three and imagining your breath traveling up the left side of a square. Then hold your breath while counting to three. Imagine your breath traveling across the top side of the square. On your out-breath exhale slowly while counting to three and imagining your breath traveling down the right side of a square. Then count to three while holding your breath and imagining your breath traveling across the top of a square.
Sharp explains that "after a few minutes of this, you should be feeling calmer and more centered."
So why not give one of these mindfulness techniques a try?
For those adding cannabis to these practices, keep in mind that it is better to avoid smoking these days - since any smoke is said to complicate coronavirus infections. Instead, try edibles and sublingual options before you sink into your mindfulness practice.
It can also be helpful to keep your cannabis dose low. While low doses relieve anxiety, high amounts of cannabinoids like THC and CBD can make you feel paranoid. Keep your dose low until you know the best amount for you.