(WGHP) — As we head into another year of living with COVID-19, stress and anxiety levels feel higher than ever. We want to try to help protect and improve your mental well-being with a new series called Mindful Mondays. 

These are truly simple ways to cope. We start with something you’re already doing right now, just breathing. Scientific studies show breath practices and meditation can calm the mind and physically reduce the signs of stress in the body.

Reverend Greg Ferrand, executive director of the Second Breath Center in Greensboro, teaches these types of breathing techniques along with meditation and mindfulness practices. Most of these practices can be done in just a few minutes each day. Ferrand says we can all start by paying attention to our thoughts and try to focus more on our present moment. 

“Studies have shown that the more we spend thinking about the future or thinking about the past, the more unhappy we are and unhealthier we are. So mindfulness is simply growing in the capacity to pay attention to those thoughts that are helpful, and the thoughts that are unhelpful we just let them drift on past,” said Ferrand.

Shannon Smith learned some of these breathing practices and shows how to try them.