5 Ways to Refine our Thinking
COVID-19 Lockdown 2.0 is occurring at different levels all around the world. Melbourne, Australia for example is in Stage 4. Lockdown really takes its toll on our mental health, especially this second time around. We understand the need for lockdown, reducing community spread of coronavirus is really important. However, it is not easy for anyone. Finding ways to protect and strengthen our mental health is a universal necessity. There are many community and government measures in place in the fight against COVID, but have you started refining your thinking.
Life changes of COVID
While most of our pets are loving having us home with all the extra attention they are receiving, unfortunately some of their owners are having to deal with economic hardship, loss of businesses and jobs, stress from the distractions of working from home and lack of social interaction with people outside the home. Families are being tested as giving its members space has been taken away with everyone constantly together. Single people are struggling with lack of companionship, while teenagers and children are missing their school friends. Home schooling is not an experience we will forget in a hurry!
Beyond Blue, (an Australian independent mental health support organisation) has reported an increase in people contacting their Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service by 88%. Both old and young people, this lockdown seems to be affecting all of us, the grief of losing many aspects of our old life is disturbing everyone.
Think your way to Happiness
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” -Dalai Lama
Having things to do in Lockdown can help us through this amazing world crisis, but we also need to look at the way we think, the way our brain works, so we can become more positive and create happiness. Sometimes hearing the same thing at different times and different stages when we have different needs can makes us understand things and see them with different eyes.
1. Living in the future or the past.
Often people spend a lot of time thinking about what the future holds, they worry about what would happen if they couldn’t pay their bills or they lost their jobs, how would they feed the family if they had no money or what would happen if they lost their homes and other things that haven’t even happened or might not even eventuate. They spend time thinking about what they would do in the worst case scenario as if it had happened and was real.
Our memories and recollection of the past can also be extremely negative. We seem to fixate on our negative childhood especially the negative feelings and emotions it has elicited. Things like bitterness, anger, despair etc. consume our thoughts, our minds get carried away in the ” poor me”, victim speak and we can forget that this time is over, it’s gone and no matter how much we think or wish, there is no way we can change or alter any previous outcomes
2. Conscious vs Subconscious
Our subconscious tries to solve the problems our mind creates, or the things we worry about and makes us ask the “what if” questions, and that is the scenario that consumes our thoughts. The subconscious is trying to predict what will happen in the future and this causes us emotions with considerable anxiety, yet there is no reality for these emotions.
Our brain cannot distinguish between what we imagine and what is real in our reality, so the effects of stress on our body is the same regardless of whether we are thinking about what could happen or what is actually happening in our real life reality. This is why it is really important to be aware of what we are thinking about, where our mind is taking us and to make our thoughts positive and happy. We have to elicit change in our life so we are the positive influence to us that we need to be happy.
3. We are happier when we live in the “now”.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” ~ Buddha.
The most important thing we can do to be happier is to focus on “now”, by living or being in the present and enjoy each and every moment as we live it now. We can not spend any time being fixated on some idea we have of the future and how it will or could look, or live in the past. We are much better appreciating the current moment and feeling the pleasure of living in the now. Taking one day at a time, connecting with nature and literally smelling the roses, dedicating time to mindfulness and meditation, connecting with our pets and having social connections with others while laughing and pursuing hobbies, these things will make us much happier rather than living into an unpredictable future or negative past. We all survived the first lockdown, so during our current lockdown, if we heed the lessons from the past lockdown, we will be better prepared to look after ourselves emotionally, we will be able to survive just the same and by living concentrating on the joy of each day now it will help us get through this mentally intact.
4. Stay connected to Family & Friends
One of the biggest concerns people have during covert-19 is that of isolation but connecting with friends and family in this century is so easy with facetime and zoom. It is so important to remain socially connected to all those that are close to us, asking R U OK, while maintaining social distancing.
5. Ask Better Questions
We have learnt that by practicing self-care and mindfulness in our lives, using meditation, giving thanks and practicing gratitude in our life changes the subconscious from the negative to positive thoughts. Changing the questions we ask ourselves, changes the dialogue going on in our mind and focuses the little voice to take the direction we want our thoughts to take. Questions can be really effective to focus your thoughts. Try some of these questions or saying the statements may help you keep your thoughts on track. Extra Tip: You can even trick your subconscious by turning negative statements or thoughts into questions where there is only a positive outcome, so you have to look for the good
Statements to propel you Forward
- I am going to eat good quality food.
- I am going to rest when I need and get plenty of sleep.
- I am going to stop being the perfectionist and be more relaxed with things.
- I am going to spend more time doing art and craft.
- What art work am I going to complete today?
- I am going to try and do nice things or help other people all the time.
- I am going to meditate everyday, or at least every second day.
- I am going to say my affirmation every day and not be guilty when I don’t.
- I am going to walk regularly. You can exercise to your hearts content.
- Am I going to spend time outside, gardening or just sitting today?
- I am going to keep in touch by phoning my old aunts,
- If you have parents Zoom, phone or facetime them regularly
- I am going to keep in-touch with or re-kindle old friendships.
- If you have a husband, cuddle him and tell him you love him.
- If you have kids at home, cuddle and tell them you love them.
- I am going to attend my women’s circle every fortnight
- I am going to stop watching the news everyday
- I am going to limit my social media and only post funny posts (or this blog lol)
- I am going to laugh every day and try to make others laugh too.
- I am going to listen to music regularly.
- I am going to be kind and gentle on myself especially when I don’t do things I say I will.
Trickster Questions that lead you to Better-ness
- How am I going to care for myself?
- Why am I enjoying this time at home?
- What is it about my family that is filling my heart with joy?
- Why do I like spending so much time with my family?
- Why am I feeling such a sense of accomplishment at the moment?
So be reassured, this time will pass and it may take a little longer than we anticipated, but all over the world the energy is the same, feeling drained is quite common with so many people admitting they are struggling, so don’t feel any shame if you need to reach out and ask for help.
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you can never see the shadow.” – Helen Keller
Make a vow to yourself that you will prioritise your own mental health and mindfulness, make being grateful, giving thanks and looking for the positive things in your life a way of being and if you implement the above strategies, you can come out on top and actually create an amazing life, one of choice. Your thinking is in you. Have a go.