In mid-March an interesting Google trend began to occur. As searches on Coronavirus, sanitiser and facemasks skyrocketed, the terms ‘meditation’ and ‘yoga’ also began to tick steadily upwards.
It’s not exactly scientific data but indicates wellbeing and spirituality were beginning to become a priority as the world around began to unravel.
So why do we turn to spirituality and wellness when the going gets tough?
There’s no doubt the early days of coronavirus created a noisy headspace. To a backdrop of increasingly depressing and panicky news headlines, thoughts began to ricochet from health concerns to family finances and possible unemployment.
By April, Australia’s mindset was also preoccupied on the home front, where the lines between work, childcare and children’s education had blurred into a near insurmountable daily to-do list.
Some quiet in the storm was required, and mindfulness, meditation, and yoga were but a Google search away.
Aiding the quest for a little inner peace was a growing list of resources available. From celebrities to mental health organisations, everyone was advocating that we should take the occasional step back from the fray, offering up tools to help us embrace wellbeing and wellness.
An honourable mention and great example was Chris Hemsworth, who fresh off some faraway set, used ‘iso’ to apply his dulcet tones to guided meditations for children, effectively serving up a win-win for mums and kids alike.
Seeking solace became the mainstream, and we lapped it up in droves.
Wellness wasn’t the only comfort we were seeking in a crisis. Turns out spirituality in various forms became a focus as well. Although traditional events like church services were cancelled, a Gallup poll in the US revealed 19 per cent of people believed their faith improved as a result of Covid-19.
Perhaps it was part belief there’s a greater plan at play or acknowledgment things are happening beyond our control, but for many spirituality granted us “the serenity to accept the things” we could not change.
At a time when physical distancing was required, spiritual connectedness surfaced in a host of different ways. Some people embraced prayer, others turned to the earth through activities like gardening, while kindness was on show in a variety of ways.
Children were encouraged to write to people in nursing homes, neighbours offered shopping assistance to those more frail or infirm. Overarching was a theme of being connected through purpose.
At a time likely to elicit a sense of despair, many people countered it by practising gratitude, spirituality and kindness in a bid to heal a weary soul.
As well-known identity Deepak Chopra noted, the terms used to describe the process didn’t matter, instead it was about healing and connecting at a time when everything seemed in disarray.
“We don’t need to apply the words ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’ to these modes of healing,” he reflected.
“They are based on long traditions, both East and West, that have examined and understood the human condition. More to the point, they are practical.
“They give you a sense of control over your life. By bringing you closer to your soul, spirit, higher awareness or deeper self (choose any term you prefer), these things reverse the most damaging spiritual trend in modern society: the desperate urge to flee from ourselves.”