Are you feeling overwhelmed, anxious or angry about the current health crisis? Would you like some simple ideas to help you cope better? I hope this post will help you.
Have you noticed the extremes of emotions and opinions on posts on Social Media? Some posts are angry and opinionated while others might seem fluffy and cliched. Striking a balance to keep your mental health strong is not easy.
In Positive Psychology Optimism is recognised as a powerful mindset for mental health however to stay fully healthy it is important to avoid slipping into Rose Tinted Glasses territory. A small dose of pessimism is healthy in that it motivates you to stay informed and take sensible precautions.
To stay mentally healthy live in Optimism and keep a small bag of pessimism as a safety check on your behaviours and actions.
Stay informed but make sure you are listening to credible sources only. There are thousands of instant experts and conspiracy theorists flooding the internet with ideas. Be wary of following such sources. There is a risk that this will push you into unhealthy thinking patterns which in turn risk a negative impact on your well-being. Access reliable news once a day and then put your focus into ways to keep yourself engaged with a positive focus.
Gaining a sense of purpose and meaning will help strengthen your mindset. If you are self-isolating or working from home finding meaning and purpose may need to be a conscious decision. Those of you who have volunteered to help others will automatically have increased this sense.
You will probably already know that exercise will also have a positive impact and it is worth recognising that exercise releases positive chemicals in the brain and body. Not only will it boost your immune system, you will also feel better psychologically and emotionally.
If you feel overwhelmed with fear, anxiety and/or anger start by acknowledging that you have these feelings. Verbally expressing these feelings to someone who can listen with no judgement can be helpful. Being the listener for someone else can also help.
I recommend that instead of expressing, particularly anger on Social Media you instead write down or type into a word document how you feel. Grammar and spelling are unimportant, you are doing this just for you. There is research that suggests that when you write negative emotions down it helps you gain some distance and relief. Writing down rather than typing seems to be the most powerful format for this.
If you need a bit more help there are thousands of professional NLP Practitioners, counsellors, therapists and coaches still working via video conferencing. Do your research and pick a professional who has a credible track record and where possible get a recommendation from someone you know.
Social contact is important for well-being so make sure you have regular phone and video conferencing with your loved ones and friends. There are many clubs and social groups that have shifted to video conferencing. Use this time as an opportunity to explore a new interest or hobby.
I also recommend, if you are not doing so already, that you start a gratitude diary. This is a tool that in Positive Psychology has a lot of research behind it. This is a simple daily task that has been demonstrated a powerful positive impact on mental well-being.
Many of the things you write down may seem simple, that is okay. Make a point of recording five things, it is okay to have some repetition. If you have children do this with them, it can become a family tradition and you will be helping your children build resilience that will last a life time. For example here is my list today.
- I still feel well.
- It is a beautiful day.
- My dogs have already made me laugh lots of times.
- I’m feeling creative.
- I am impressed with Mercedes Formula 1 for inventing a new type of breathing equipment to help save lives.
Just seen Harry the war veteran on TV fund raiser and he said “I’m free in my mind, I can go anywhere in my mind”. Very good point.
Watch some TV that uplifts you. I’m sharing pictures of my dogs to make my contribution to creating Positive Virtual Hugs.
Stay well and safe.