Increase your peace of mind during the pandemic

“PANDEMIC”: THE WATCHWORD AFTER MORE THAN ONE YEAR AND THE END OF THE TUNNEL IS STILL NOT IN SIGHT… LETTING GO OF ANXIETY AND FEAR IS POSSIBLE! How can you increase your peace of mind during the pandemic? Here are a few practical tips.

mynd would like to share with you some practical ways of strengthening your mind. Like Roger Federer, you too can stay in the game throughout the match and, in the end, win the match in the face of pandemic anxiety! Let’s go!

power of thought

Becoming aware of the power of thought

It is a scientific fact that we are programmed to focus our attention on what we perceive as a potential danger. At the time of the cavemen, it was more important to be able to spot the lion on our left than to marvel at the beautiful rainbow on our right. Naturally, any threat – real or hypothetical – is processed by our brain, which in response triggers the stress machinery.

This is why our thoughts instinctively focus on the negative facts of our daily lives. This is also why it takes a conscious effort to focus on the positive things in our lives. Especially during a pandemic, where uncertainty is present, it is essential to learn to have control over our thoughts. To be able to control our thoughts and to practise acknowledging and appreciating the positive things in our lives. This will help us to have a more balanced and real view of things and to be able to look at the whole picture, so that we can better appreciate it. 

For a first step in this direction, I would encourage you to read these articles on the myndblog: 6 ways positive thinking affects your health and How You Can Practice Positive Thinking In Everyday Life

Do not let yourself be taken over by stress

The stress reaction is engraved in our genes. In general, it is a natural, normal and appropriate response. However, if the stress reaction is disproportionate to the real danger or if it remains permanently “switched on”, this can have serious consequences for our health. Do you feel that you are having difficulty managing your stress? Do you feel stressed all the time? Choose to take action now. On the myndblog, you will find useful tips for relieving stress and find out more about How to recognise and manage chronic stress.

are-you-in-panic-dont-panic

Are you in a state of panic? Don’t panic!

When you start to panic (or experience any other difficult emotion), breathe deeply and slowly. Remember that it is perfectly normal to feel fear when faced with uncertainty. Give yourself permission to experience this negative emotion. Accepting that you are feeling this emotion is the first step to better managing it.

When we are overwhelmed by fear, anxiety or any other negative emotion of high intensity, our rational brain is literally disconnected. The emotional brain takes control. What’s more, during this time, we are unable to process information or think properly.

That’s why it’s important to take action to calm the emotional system and allow the rational brain to get back to work. Breathing or meditation exercises are effective for this. Here is a simple “anti-panic” breathing exercise that you can easily put into practice in your daily life.

Anti-panic breathing 4-6-6-6

1. Sit comfortably with your legs on the floor. Breathe in for 4 seconds.
2. Hold for 6 seconds.
3. Exhale slowly, as if you were blowing out a candle, taking care not to blow it out, for 6 seconds.
4. Hold for 6 seconds.

Repeat the sequence 2 to 3 times maximum! 

Then let your breathing resume its normal course. 

It is very important not to exceed the recommended number of sequences. Otherwise you may hyperventilate and faint.

Even if managing emotions is far from obvious, it is possible to learn to manage them and experience them more serenely. Do not hesitate to ask for professional help if necessary.

Letting go

Most of us have heard of the ability to let go and its amazing effect on well-being. Most of us wonder, rightly so, how we can achieve this unattainable state. What is “letting go” all about?

We are challenged by uncertainty. We naturally wish with to have everything under our control, we give ourselves over to the task with more or less determination. This may seem reassuring, but hoping to control everything is an illusion. The first step in letting go is to accept that uncertainty is an integral and inherent part of life. It is also to accept that being afraid is normal and to give yourself the right to feel that emotion.

This may seem trivial to you, but letting go actually begins with letting go of the very desire to let go at all costs. As long as we stay in our thoughts, in our thinking and controlling brain, we will miss our goal. Because letting go, far from being a mental act, is much more of an experience. It allows us to experience something else entirely.

letting go

Choose to focus on what can be controlled

When you find that your thoughts are related to concerns you have no control over, such as the end of the pandemic or the return to normal life, remember that the time spent on this will be time and energy wasted. Make a decision at this point to focus on the things you can control, such as working on your physical and mental health. For the rest, which is beyond your control, take the opportunity to practice letting go.

"Tell me who you're hanging out with and I'll tell you who you are”

This old saying could not be truer! Taking care of your interpersonal relationships is essential, as it has a significant impact on your well-being in general and your mind in particular! Quantity does not equal quality. Choose carefully who you give your time to. 

It is important to think carefully about the people who act on you like “vitamins”. Those who, with their mere touch, are able to re-energise you, make you glow, breathe easier, and put a smile back on your face. Take a moment to be grateful for having this/these person(s) in your life and take care of special relationships. They are a key resource for keeping your mind in shape.

Make a decision to take concrete action to improve your health

The basis and foundation for physical and mental health undoubtedly starts with a healthy and balanced diet, regular physical activity and sufficient quality sleep.

Don’t know where to start? I’ll share with you my favourite activity: a long walk in the forest, which is the Holy Grail for your mind. The contact with nature, combined with moderate physical effort, is what makes this activity so great. Among other things, it gives you clarity of mind, calms you down, relaxes you and gives you a sense of well-being, which naturally reduces stress levels and anxiety. This will give your brain a real break and allow you to recharge your energy, especially in these times of pandemic.

At mynd, we are also here to support you in your personal journey to achieve a life balance that suits you better. Don’t hesitate to contact a coach. The first appointment is free.

written by Erika Habegger, FSP-licenced psychologist

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