In these troubled times, in the face of Covid-19, everyone is so focused on protecting their physical health. But today instead of talking about what mask you should wear and if gloves will help protect you, I’d like to discuss protecting your mental well-being during this challenging time. In order to do that, I need to first explain a little bit about what makes us tick as humans. One major difference between us and other animals is that we not only respond to imminent physical threats but perceived ones as well. We can think ahead to imagine the future, and we are aware of our own mortality. That means that we can imagine all the possibilities that lie before us and suffer from the fear and anxiety that comes with that in imagining scenarios that are beyond our control.
So what are we really afraid of? Well, there are 4 types of fears surrounding our existence here on this Earth. The first is the fear of groundlessness, which is our fear of losing control. This is what is happening to a lot of people due to Covid-19 when we are scared of getting sick. We can control what we do through social distancing and staying home, but not necessarily what happens to us, and that is frightening. The second fear is the fear of isolation. Not even just the physical isolation you may be experiencing now, but also the fear of being alone because no one truly understands your perspective in the world besides yourself. So now there is the fear of being physically one as well as mentally alone. The third is the fear of identity or fear of rejection. That you won’t fit in and be accepted and loved. In this situation, many people have differing viewpoints and are attacking others on social media for sharing
their perspectives. So saying how you feel can be a source of fear because you don’t know if you will be ostracized for it. And the fourth fear, of course, is death. We are being faced with the meaning of life and it’s temporary nature.
In light of all the fears this virus is bringing up in all of us, here are some ways you can process them and protect your mental wellness throughout this journey we are all on together. First, awareness of your feelings is key. Avoidance of fear can cause panic, loneliness, depression, isolation, and helplessness. Make sure to acknowledge your feelings and reach out for help if needed. It’s also important to acknowledge and validate others’ feelings, and not to ridicule them if they don’t share your views. Supporting each other and realizing that we are all struggling to cope in our own ways, giving each other grace and showing compassion will help us all come through this stronger and better. Next, make sure to take a break from the news media, as it can be overwhelming. In the 1950s, Social Psychologists studied fear as a form of persuasion in the media. When faced with too strong a message of fear, people tend to shut down, go into denial, and can become irrational or distrustful. If the message is too weak, people are then unmotivated to take any kind of action. Therefore the government and media have to try to find a balance, not too much and not too little. In the age of social media however, we are constantly bombarded with the news from every angle-on our phones, televisions, computers, social media, and the people around us. So if you feel that you are starting to react too strongly in a negative manner to being bombarded with information, pay attention only to the pertinent details that effect your day to day life, and limit your exposure as much as possible to only that. You have to do what is best for your situation, and empower yourself to pivot. According to Abraham Hicks, pivoting is a process of deliberately focusing your attention with the intention of directing your own life experience. Right now, you and your loved ones need to be the main focus of your attention, so pivot to think about what you DO want, and take control and be solution focused on that. Think positively to inspire yourself to act positively, and focus more on what you CAN do versus what you can’t right now. Keeping yourself and your family as safe and healthy as possible, both physically and mentally, is of the utmost importance. Remember that you and the people closest to you need to share joy, laughter, calm, and strength more than they need to do homework. The world of work and school will be waiting for us outside the walls of your home. But right now your mental wellness is key to getting through this stronger and better, and your mindset is also paramount to a good immune system. So take care of your mind, body, and spirit, and be well during this time of crisis. This too shall pass.
If you’d like to explore further what having the support of a mental wellness coach looks like, let’s talk.