Your mindset plays a key role in how well you cope with life’s challenges and setbacks. We are all having to dig deep to find the resilience and motivation to stay mentally strong and positive at the moment. If you are struggling with the barrage of emotions unleashed by the Coronavirus pandemic, there are actions you can take to strengthen your mindset. Here, we have outlined five changes that you can incorporate into your daily life to help you overturn feelings of anxiety, stress and isolation.
1. Establish a Routine
Aristotle famously said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Thanks to COVID-19, our daily routines have been thrown out the window and replaced with uncertainty and unpredictability. Establishing new routines can help us adjust to the ‘new normal’ and give us a sense of control over our lives.
There is no shortage of books, articles and blog posts promising to provide us with the perfect routine for a productive, successful and healthy life. However, the best routine for you is one that is adapted to your individual habits and goals. If you are a night-owl who works best after 9pm, trying to start your morning at 5am is going to stack the odds of sticking to a routine against you.
What is important is going to bed and waking up at similar times each day and structuring your day around your most productive hours. Plan your day in advance and write out a list of the tasks you would like to achieve, remembering to keep it realistic, especially if you are trying to combine working from home with looking after children. Incorporate little things like making your bed and clearing up the dishes straight after eating as well as downtime and exercise.
2. Be kind to others
Did you know that being kind can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health? Kindness tends to be undervalued in our society with its emphasis on ruthless ambition and individual achievements. But the reality is that kindness is inextricably linked to happiness and contentment.
Kindness promotes empathy and compassion, which in turn help us to feel connected to others. At this time of social distancing, simple acts of kindness can decrease our feelings of isolation and strengthen a sense of community. Helping an elderly neighbour with their shopping, donating tinned goods to the foodbank or checking in on a friend with an uplifting text message, will not only bring joy to the recipient but also reduce your own stress and negative emotions.
3. Use positive affirmations
When we are feeling anxious and vulnerable it can be easy to fall into a pattern of negative self-talk. Words have the power to shape our beliefs, drive our behaviour and impact on our mental state. By surrounding yourself with uplifting words, you can bring positive energy into your day.
Positive affirmations are phrases or mantras that are repeated to encourage and uplift the person speaking them. There are many different positive affirmations but they all have three things in common: they are always in the present tense, they only include positive words and they are spoken as statements of fact and truth.
The first step is to choose positive affirmations that reflect the reality that you want to create for yourself. Some examples could be: ‘I am at peace with myself and with the world’, ‘My thoughts are under my control’ or ‘I radiate love and happiness around me’. Repeat your positive affirmations out loud to yourself in the morning and evening or anytime when you need a boost of confidence. If you do this consistently, the words will start to resonate and help you eliminate your limiting beliefs and negative thoughts.
4. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is a very powerful emotion that can bring a multitude of benefits to your life. Research shows that gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. Crucially, at challenging times such as these, gratitude encourages us to identify that there are good things in the world.
Keeping a gratitude journal has been proven to improve your well-being and it is an easy habit to cultivate. Every evening write down three things that you are grateful for that day. It could be anything from the sunny weather to your child’s smile or simply having a roof over your head. To really make the habit stick, create a ritual around it, such as lighting a candle or drinking a cup of your favourite tea while you are writing in the journal.
5. Work on your Emotional Intelligence
The ability to recognise and regulate your emotions is a key component of a strong and positive mindset. Emotional intelligence allows us to connect with others, understand ourselves better, and live healthier and happier lives. It also helps you to build strong relationships, leadership skills, resilience and self-awareness.
Those who can identify conflict- or stress-induced emotions in themselves can control their impulses better and refrain from counterproductive behaviour. How we choose to think, feel, and act in relation to life’s challenges can often make the difference between hope versus despair and optimism versus frustration.
If you would like to learn strategies and skills to improve your emotional intelligence, please contact us to find out more about our courses.