ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- One of the biggest issues of being isolated from our typical social settings, whether with coworkers or large family gatherings, is that it triggers negative self-talks – one of the biggest culprits for depression and anxiety.Being more aware of our emotional and mental state helps safeguard our mental wellness during social distancing.This awareness, known as mindfulness, is one way to manage the stress social distancing produces.Mindfulness is maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surroundings.Mindfulness has physiological, psychological and emotional benefits. It not only helps calm our emotional reactivity, but also serves as a coping mechanism by slowing down the thinking process.Daily practice of mindfulness increases self-awareness by understanding our own emotions and physical state.Research by James Carmody from the University of Massachusetts and Ruth Baer from the University of Kentucky showed additional benefits of mindfulness include:• Lower cortisol levels (which lead to less stress)• Boosts in the immune system• Significant changes in the brain, leading to better memory, higher attention skills and better emotional regulationBy practicing mindfulness, you can be more productive and have more time in your daily schedule.It can decrease anxiety and depression for people who are susceptible to those issues.Through mindfulness, negative emotions and stress can be reduced and positive emotions, such as self-compassion, increase.According to Ronald Siegel and Paul Fulton of Harvard, practicing self-compassion allows us to help others, while increasing relationship satisfaction.There are many way to practice mindfulness and some are as simple as daily household chores.What it requires is deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment.Here are some examples of how to practice mindfulness during social distancing:• Body Sensation. Notice simple body sensations, such as an itch or tingling (without judgment) and let them pass. Observe your state of mind, emotion and practice gentleness by being non-judgmental.• Urge surfing. Savor every bit of every moment and allow yourself to excuse the urges. Focus on the present moment and replace any negative thought by saying, “It is okay to be here in the moment.”• Self-soothing techniques. Listen to soothing music or even engage in hugging. Take a moment to dance with yourself and/or family members. This produces oxytocin that naturally reduces anxiety. Another self-soothing technique is to focus quietly on your natural breathing or on a word, or mantra, you repeat silently.• Activating the sensory by organizing something at home. Getting organized is a simple way to reduce our stress levels and improve the quality of our life. Notice signs, sounds, smells, tastes and touches. Name them without judgment, feel them and then let them go.• Set small daily goals. Breaking down goals into smaller ones helps us be more specific to what the aim is and keep the mind activated. This heightens our ability to focus.• Let loose and laugh. Laughing releases endorphins (part of the happy chemicals) and brings more oxygen and energy into the body while improving the immune system. Notice each part of your body in motion, from head to toe.If you are having trouble coping during social distancing, please reach out to your Anniston Army Depot Employee Assistance Program for additional help or resources.Boyd Scoggins: 256-240-3182 or Boyd.g.scoggins.civ@mail.milJuanita Bruno: 256-741-5785 or juanita.c.bruno-jacob.civ@mail.mil