Stop time travelling to destinations that you don’t want to go to. Be mindful. Use your breath. (Special to The News)

Stop time travelling to destinations that you don’t want to go to. Be mindful. Use your breath. (Special to The News)

IN IT TOGETHER: Come on back to the present – stop time travelling

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

By Alex Bruce/Special to The News

A pandemic may close the borders, but most of us still travel every single day, multiple times a day.

If you are a frequent time-traveller of the past, you are likely experiencing feelings of sadness and depression.

If your preferred destination is the future, you likely bring anxiety with you on the trip.

Sound familiar?

When we are not in this moment, we are not truly here.

Our body is here, but our mind has travelled to the past or the future.

The thing is that health only resides in this moment.

If you are mindful, you may catch the fact that when you are thinking about what’s about to happen, or will happen later, or might happen later, that you feel stressed out and full of anxiety.

When you ruminate over the past, what “should” or “shouldn’t” have happened, you may notice feelings of loneliness, sadness, anger, regret, or depression. None of that feels good, so why do we keep travelling to destinations that make us feel bad?

Try to notice yourself every single time you are time-travelling and bring yourself back to the present.

The best way to do this is with your breath, although you can do it by being mindful of anything.

Feel your feet – are they on the floor?

Can you feel the pressure of your shoes? What do your socks feel like? Are the bottoms of your feet moist or dry?

This brings you back in to real time – the present moment.

See if you notice if any of your stressful thoughts have changed.

You can be mindful of sound.

In our house, we have tiny wind chimes outside on the back deck. I love to sit and just listen to them. Sometimes they fill my entire awareness. I become swept up in them. It is impossible for me to be sad or angry if I am lost in the beauty of their song.

Speaking of songs, listening to tranquil music and allowing yourself to follow that may be just what you need.

If thoughts come up, just go back to listening to music, not to thoughts.

It takes practice, and just like practising being positive makes us better at being positive, we can become better at being mindful when we practise.

Be mindful of sight.

I love guiding elementary and middle school students through the exercise of “owl eyes.”

What do you see when you look around? Which things are shiny and which are dull? What is the texture? What are the minute details of things? What do the different patterns look like? What do you see right in front of you that you’ve never noticed?

The truth is that we can be mindful of anything if that is where we place our attention.

As the saying states, “Where attention goes, energy flows.”

I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t feel good when my energy flows to negative, fearful, angry, or sad thoughts.

So, when I catch that I’m time travelling, I quickly return back to the present through mindfulness.

As we move through this pandemic and into life after the pandemic, stop time travelling to destinations that you don’t want to go to. Be mindful. Use your breath.

Watch your thoughts. Consciously choose now.


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

2nd: We mammals are in this together and will thrive together

3rd: Trying something new can help

4th: Celebrating inclusion in team humanity

5th: Learning to learn at home

6th: Take good care of yourself, so you can care for others

7th: Important to move your butt

8th: Join together in sharing gratitude for Canadians

9th: Ponder a mini vacation and make the best of what’s happening

10th: Taking time to focus on the good in your world

11th: Keeping the faith will make us all stronger in the end

12th: Picturing yourself strong

13th: Taking a few deep breaths

14th: Smile at life and share it around

15th: Naming emotions help free people from those feelings

16th: Send positive thoughts to family, friends, strangers, even pets


– 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”


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


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

Maple Ridge News