Five Meditations for Uncertain Times

In moments of uncertainty, it’s only natural to experience anxiety. But learning how to manage it can ensure we have the mental clarity to effectively navigate the storm and to arrive stronger on the other side.   

It’s well known that meditation can reduce anxiety. What’s less well known is that meditation comes in a multitude of forms. Here, we look at five distinct types that, according to recent scientific studies, can substantially minimize anxiety. 

Binaural Beat Meditation

What is it?

Binaural beat meditation relies on binaural integration, the experience of hearing a single tone (i.e., pitch) when two different tones are presented to each ear. For instance, if you listen to a tone of 400 Hz in one ear and a tone of 410 Hz in the other, you’ll hear a single tone of 405 Hz! Researchers in New York recently found that listening to binaural recordings for 20 minutes each day for a couple of weeks led to significant reductions in symptoms among those with generalized anxiety disorder. 

How to do it

Grab a pair of headphones, head to YouTube, search for “binaural meditation”, and click on whichever thumbnail catches your eye. To test if the video is the real deal, check that a different tone is coming through each headphone and that you experience them as a single tone when you have both headphones in. Then sit back, close your eyes, and take a few minutes to enjoy the soothing sounds.

Anapanasati Meditation

What is it?

This meditation, the type adopted by Buddha himself, simply involves focusing on one’s breath. Recently, researchers in India demonstrated that this simple practice can lead to substantially lower scores on the gold standard of anxiety measures, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. 

How to do it

Take a seat, close your eyes, and

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The plight of nursing home residents in a pandemic – Harvard Health Blog

For anyone living in a nursing home or other long-term or assisted-living facility, these are particularly difficult times. I’ve heard more than one resident complain bitterly about feeling trapped in their rooms, having meals left outside their door (rather than gathering in the dining room with friends), and not being allowed to participate in their routine activities or have visitors. “They’re treating me like a prisoner,” said one resident I know. Yes, for many, it’s feeling more like a prison than the place they knew as home before the pandemic.

And yet there are good reasons for all the restrictions. A recent analysis shows that residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities account for 42% of all COVID-19 deaths in the US. In more than a dozen states, over half of deaths were among nursing home residents. West Virginia (80%), Minnesota (80%), and Rhode Island (73%) had the highest rates.

Unfortunately, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities offer the perfect breeding grounds for viral infections like the novel coronavirus: many people living indoors in close quarters and in close contact — in fact, regularly dining and socializing together.

Other contributors include:

  • Advanced age is a risk factor for more severe illness with COVID-19.
  • Chronic medical conditions. Hypertension, heart, lung, and kidney disease, and diabetes are common among nursing home residents.
  • Inadequate testing and access to personal protective equipment.
  • Ability to follow preventive measures. Those with dementia may not remember to wear a mask or maintain a social distance.
  • Family adherence to preventive measures. Family members may try to bypass restrictions established by long-term care facilities because they feel the risks of COVID-19 are lower than the risks of keeping their loved one socially distanced, or they may be skeptical about the seriousness of COVID-19.
  • Care needs. For people
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