Life can be overwhelming and full of anxiety especially in these times of COVID-19. It’s normal to feel worried, scared or helpless about situations, you are not alone. Reminding ourselves to take notice of our thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the world around us is the first step to mindfulness.
These techniques could help reframe your mindset for a positive outlook:
· Acknowledge Your Feelings: Acceptance of this fact is critical and vital for the correct perspective. Negative and positive exist together. It is the presence of the negative that makes positive impactful. Our feelings, when listened to, can lead us to choices that improve not only our mental wellbeing but our whole lives as well. Accept that things aren’t as they should be or at least how you expected them to be. Once you have reached this realisation, you are more likely to start looking out for ways of managing yourself well whilst you go through the situation.
· Cultivate A Winning Mindset. The presence of overwhelming situations naturally generates fear. To overcome fear, you must first acknowledge it, but not focus on it. Learning to deal with fear means putting your negative thoughts in perspective. Failures are part of life and you should not be afraid of them. Change the way you view failure. Use it as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Learn to accept challenges. If you are going to succeed at anything, there will be challenges and sometimes failure, nope, learning! Thomas Edison and Michael Jordan have similar takes on failure. “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” And “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.”
· Stay Connected With Loved Ones: This is a good time to connect with your social support groups. You can, visit or meet up with friends and family in person. If you cannot meet up in person, stay in touch by phone, video calls or social media. We all need to feel connected still, so keep in touch — whether it’s with people you normally saw often or reconnecting with old friends. There is a level of healing that comes from connecting with the people who care about you, accept their love.
· Focus On The Present: You have only got today, make the most of it. Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can help with difficult emotions and improve your wellbeing. Focusing on one small action helps you get through feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, and paralysis from fear. You may decide on one very small action you can take at that moment and put your attention toward it. Slowly, you will lose yourself in that task.
· Articulate Positive Outcomes: We tend to focus so much on the negative. Articulate the positive outcome of your fear instead. I believe in the power of self-talk, both in terms of the words we say to ourselves and how we say them. Ask yourself what you can control in the given situation, and tell yourself, ‘You’re resilient. You’ve come through tough things before and this time won’t be different.
· Adjust Your Expectations: Shifting expectations though difficult sometimes, have been the key to keeping sanity for most people. Those expectations include: what you can get done in a day, how well others will listen, how much effort goes into making dinner, how rational and pragmatic others around you will be, and, most of all, an understanding that there is almost no chance everyone in your house and everyone at your work is going to have a good day, all at once. Now, that is a real shift of gear!
· Be Creative: Find something that absorbs your attention. Something creative or satisfying like baking or painting or crafting or whatever works for you. Take a walk in the park, surprise a friend or family member you haven’t seen for a while with a card or flowers. Do something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time to do. Being creative produces positive energy around you and a sense of achievement that makes you feel good about yourself.
· Look After Your Body: Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Going for a walk, run or bike ride can really help lift your mood and clear your mind. Or you could try some easy 10-minute home workouts. Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep up good sleep hygiene practices — like avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment.
· Remember Beautiful Life Memories: Keep a running list of moments and memories that makes you smile and glance at this list when you need to. Some of these are touching moments, some of these are accomplishments, but the vast majority will be the times you’ve spent laughing with friends. You’d be surprised how many of these memories get buried and how useful it is to bring them to the surface all at once.