From chalk art to windows filled with signs and hearts, to the nightly “make noise” salute to frontline workers, there is much happening in our community that shows the positive mindset of many local residents. (Special to The News)

IN IT TOGETHER: Taking time to focus on the good in your world

Maple Ridge mom offers series of wellness columns aimed at helping navigate through COVID-19

By Alex Bruce/Special to The News

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, “…we are looking at a mental health crisis,” stated Paula Allen, a human resources service provider Morneau Shepell, in an article dated April 2, 2020.

This news is disturbing, but I think we’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who considers it to be shocking.

Mental illness is a serious issue that, like COVID-19, needs to be urgently addressed.

The good news is that there is immediate help and unlimited things we can do to protect our mental health and to help it flourish. Hence, this series was created with the intention to offer support for the well-being of everyone in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

We’ve covered the benefits of feeling connection to one another, trying new things, taking advantage of mammalian comfort techniques, learning at home, and taking good care of ourselves. Today, we’ll cover yet another opportunity for wellness: simply noticing the good that already surrounds us.

This is one of several tools I teach that students and adults alike agree is one of their favourites.

It’s simple, it’s easy and it’s free.

Best of all, it often helps to make us feel better.

READ ABOUT SOMETHING POSITIVE: Pitt Meadows girl surprised by birthday parade

If it’s comfortable for you, try closing your eyes as you go through the steps for this exercise.

If closing your eyes is not comfortable, just relax them and try not to focus your sight on anything in particular.

Now, think of three things that are good in your life right now.

If your mind wanders to things that are negative or worrisome, just gently bring it back and focus on three things that are really good.

It may be that you had a favourable sleep last night, that you and your loved ones have your health, or that you had a fulfilling breakfast.

It could be thinking of someone you love, such as a person or pet.

It could be that your shoes fit comfortably, the weather is good, or that you have somewhere safe that you call home.

Maybe it’s that you have clean air to breathe or the fact that you adore your hair, or your remarkable sense of humour.

It can be anything you like; three things in your life that are good.

And if thinking of three things is difficult, then just focus on one. One good thing in your life right now.

The next step is to savour that truth; the truth that there are good things in your life. Really soak it in and investigate what it feels like to consciously settle your attention on the good in your life.

If it feels comfortable, invite the corners of your mouth to gently reach towards your eyes. Soak in, and enjoy, these positive truths.

Lastly, the third step is to commit to looking for more of these things that are good in your life, to bathe in them when you notice them, and to appreciate that they are true.

There are things that are happening in the world right now, in our lives, that are unpleasant, difficult and scary.

That is true.

It is also true that there are things happening in the world right now, in our lives, that are pleasant, filled with ease, and comforting.

Choose to see more of the positive, purposely direct your attention to the things that make you truly happy.

Notice the good that surrounds you.

• Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MapleRidgeNews/ and post your pictures depicting yourself or others are Smiling at Life. Share your creativity during these times and be sure to include names, ages, and details for an opportunity to be highlighted in a future article.

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FIRST COLUMN: Maple Ridge woman offers series of wellness tips amid COVID crisis

SECOND: We mammals are in this together and will thrive together

THIRD: Trying something new can help

FOURTH: Celebrating inclusion in team humanity

FIFTH: Learning to learn at home

SIXTH: Take good care of yourself, so you can care for others

SEVENTH: Important to move your butt

EIGHTH: Join together in sharing gratitude for Canadians

NINTH: Ponder a mini vacation and make the best of what’s happening

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– Alex Bruce is a health and wellness author and accredited meditation and mindfulness instructor, and this is excerpt from her: “Let’s Be Calm: The Mental Health Handbook for Surviving and Thriving Through Pandemic”

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• Stay tuned tomorrow for the next COVID-19: In It Together column

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• If there is more to this column, please let us know about it. Email us at editor@mapleridgenews.com. We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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