As the pandemic carries on, it has become a mental struggle. For those living in a climate where winter is upon us, there is a lot of dread about how to cope. Everyone is walking around scared and behaviours reflect that there is a lot of fear in the air. The other day, a colleague was telling me about a fight she witnessed at a grocery store between two strangers. The man was yelling at a woman, calling her “Karen” because she was not wearing a mask. The woman claimed that she was exempt from the mask. My friend stood paralyzed because she didn’t know what to do and she was sincerely worried about getting yelled as well. This is one of many stories that I have heard or seen myself and that is a hard to comprehend right now. It is sad to think about how fear and worry can turn into aggressive behaviour. Many people are failing to remember that every single person across the planet is facing something right now. Most have been affected by the pandemic is some way or another. We definitely don’t need more division during such a crisis but it seems that this is what we are facing.
Some of the ways I have been dealing with all the negative emotion around me is by literally making my mind dwell on the good. It does not come natural, you really have to put the effort in. I listen and read a lot about self-help, buddhist psychology and neuropsychology – my studies have become my life’s passion. I follow Dr. Rick Hanson (https://www.rickhanson.net/) who talks a lot about dwelling on the good in life and the mental benefits of doing so. You won’t automatically start hopping around with joy but over time, you notice that you don’t feel quite as grumpy or negative. I don’t think we can expect to be positive without doing something and this simple practice can be done anytime, anywhere. That is what I like most about these life hacks. Another twist on the same theme is something I heard from a podcast with Jacqueline Suskin. I am now obsessed with her website, poetry and approach to life in general (check it out http://www.jacquelinesuskin.com/). Sounds like she regularly writes a list of things she likes. If she struggles to find things, she looks around to find inspiration. I tried it and to be perfectly honest, it did bring instant joy! I could think of so many things that I like that I had to stop myself because I want to do the practice over and over. All these small tricks will help our mind tune in to the good. It certainly won’t do it naturally, especially during a pandemic.
There is no side effect with trying these types of strategies but there is a strong chance that you might see the benefit. More importantly, you might even feel it in your bones. We need any little thing to help us stay positive during this unprecedented time called COVID 19 pandemic.