Tool Kit for Keeping Spirits Up
Uncertainty is something that we humans don’t like. We are currently experiencing the most significant period of uncertainty in human history.
Uncertainty can be contagious and fuels anxiety. We tend to be too focused on every scenario or opinion, which can lead to feeling overwhelmed. Uncertainty triggers our fear brain.
Fear is a common human emotion. Over millions of years, our brains have developed significantly. This earlier part enabled us to detect a threat from mammoths and tigers, so we could survive and protect ourselves. It searches for threats to determine whether we can run away, freeze or fight them. Our brains evolved as we grew older, and our brains became more capable of planning, becoming aware of ourselves, and being creative. It also allowed us to worry and to feel pessimistic about ourselves and the future.
There is a positive side to this. Once we are aware of our emotions, we can take back control. No matter how much we try to blame others or the circumstances, we are responsible for our thoughts and behaviors. We can control the situation, but we can control how we respond to it.
Emotions are powerful signals that we should be aware of and curious about. They can be a source of helpful information. You don’t have to be happy all the time. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel down. It’s okay to feel down once in a while.
But, staying in a negative mood can have a detrimental effect on your mental and physical health over the long term. Although fear is necessary for survival, anxiety can cause problems in our health when it is combined with uncertainty and emotions.
If we’re in an adverse emotional condition like anxiety, then we go into Fight, Flight, or Freeze. This mode can cause us to see more negatives, which can lead to spiraling out of control. This is terrible… and it happened… and then… and then… and then… and so on.
Worries can be overwhelming when we worry. It’s easy to believe that if we worry about something, we are more prepared. The opposite is true. It is possible to stay in this survival mode for too long, which can lead to feelings of irritability, low mood, and impact on our ability to focus, clarify, and logically think. This is not a way to live.
We can and will get out of the negative spiral. You can use another part of your brain to see positives and make connections. It can also be creative and flexible. This is not only better for your mental health, but it can also have a significant impact on your overall health.
How can we reduce the negativity and increase the positivity?
Here are some suggestions to get you started. One of these may be easier than another, or you can do one every day. Or you could mix and match.
STAY IN THE MOMENT
Negative emotions like anger, sadness, guilt, shame, fear, or hurt can be a sign that we are thinking back to the past. Anxiety and worry can lead to worrying about the future. These emotions can be reduced by staying present (in the NOW). Keep your focus on the present moment, and not look ahead to days or steps. You can stop allowing your mind to wander if you focus too much on what is in front of it.
Meditation is about engaging with a thought process that allows thoughts to flow naturally. This is a powerful method to get into the NOW. You can find apps and videos online.
Take a deep breath, relax and let your anxiety go for a while.
Five counts of inhalation through the nose
* Keep your breath in for 2 to 4 counts
For seven counts, exhale slowly through the mouth.
* Let your rib cage rise and fall naturally without pushing it.
Positives are easier to recognize. This signals your brain to search for more! They are easier to find. You can train your brain the same way you train your muscles by practicing it regularly. Write six positive statements each day about the day. You can make them about any topic, no matter how small or large, but they must be positive. You can think of things like a bird singing, a conversation with a friend, or achieving a new exercise. The moon was shining, your favorite song on the radio, the perfect parking spot. These are the small things that make life more enjoyable. It’s nice to have something to look back on and also to be able to remember them.
Write down your worries, thoughts, and beliefs in a journal if you feel overwhelmed. Writing them down on paper will stop them from going round in your head. Next, examine what you have written and ask yourself if they are real or if you believe it might happen. Is it possible to do something about them if they are real? What is the next small step you can take to solve it if it is within your control? Only one step at a given time.
The current state of affairs is affecting our ability to connect with others. You can use the internet and your phone to communicate with family and friends. Asking for help is fine, and it’s okay to have a conversation.
It is great to have more time to make phone calls with family and friends, but it also leaves you with a lot of time on your hands. Connecting is about being present with others without needing to say anything. This is the challenge of social distancing or isolation. If you’re feeling lonely, you can arrange a time to sit down with your loved one and watch a movie, read, or work together. You each set up your own phone, tablet, laptop, Facetime, or another video conferencing site so you can both see the other person. You can also sit together and not have to speak a word.
Giving assistance is another way to connect with others (either a simple gesture, a phone call, or a handshake). Not only does it help the other person, but it also gives you a boost of dopamine and makes you feel good.
Instead of succumbing to the temptation of comfort food, chocolate bars, or a glass of wine for a quick boost, exercise can help reduce anxiety and stress. Exercise releases endorphins, which can give you a natural boost. This allows you to release stress and allow your body to relax. You can exercise indoors in a variety of ways, such as walking around the garden or other outdoor areas.
It’s OK to laugh. In fact, humans are good at finding the humor in life to help us get through difficult times. If you see the humor in your worries, you’ll be better able to cope and view them as less important. Call friends and share stories with them, or play games with them. Think about how 2020 will be remembered for its exciting hairstyles!
Moodshifters can help you instantly change your mood. Imagine two to three events from your life that made you smile, laugh, or feel very happy. Visualize and recall what you heard, saw, and felt emotionally. If you need a boost in mood, think back to those moments and remember them. This works because the same “feel-good hormones” flow around the body just as they did when it happened.
Smile – It’s strange, but smiling can make you happy. This is one of the weirdest ways we humans are wired. You might be surprised by the results!
LISTEN TO MUSIC
Music lifts spirits. When we play our favorite song, a smile appears on our faces. You can choose the music that suits you best. To bring in laughter and connection, you can take a picture of yourself dancing and send it off to your friends. !
Every day, take some time to do the things that make you feel good. You could take a hot bath, go on a walk in the country, or read a book outside.
MAKE YOUR OWN PLANS
You can set goals for your week or day, and you can also create a planner. This will help you plan the things you want, and you can list the tasks that you haven’t done before. You can take small steps and have some certainty in your day. They are there to guide you, not to make you feel bad.
Maintain a sense of regularity wherever possible, such as getting up at the exact same time every day, eating at your usual times, etc.
Creative thoughts can blossom in solitude. Research shows that individuals are more likely to think up their best ideas when they are alone. What can you do with your creativity to make a difference in your life? Your creativity can lead to new and beautiful ideas that bring joy to others or help others. Do you have any hobbies, books you want to write, or other creative ideas you would like to share with the world??
You have the opportunity to make the most out of your day.
PROTECT YOUR OWN ENERGY
Others can make you feel guilty or drag you into their dramas. They will want you to believe what they think. This won’t make it any better. Keep your energy levels high. You are responsible for your mind as well as theirs. You can use one of these tools to help you get back in your positive self-image. You don’t have to feel guilty if you feel okay.
KNOW THAT THIS TIME WILL PASS
There is no way to be the same forever. This will all be history, but it will come to an end. It is possible to still dream about the future and make plans.
Believe in yourself
We are resilient and intelligent, flexible, innovative, and capable of making positive changes for the better. Our ability to manage our behavior, train ourselves to be emotionally fit and build inner strength is unique among other species. The lessons and experiences we have had to learn from the hard times are what shape our lives. We are strong and can overcome any challenges. This is what we have always done and will continue to do. It’s possible to do it again.
Keep safe. Stay inside. We all win when we work together.