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Leaders all over are asking pretty much the same question: Is the COVID-19 crisis also a well-being crisis?
Honestly speaking, yes it is. Globally, people are experiencing immense stress due to unexpected disruptions to their physical, mental, emotional and financial health. Our brains and bodies are trying to cope with the sudden onslaught of a global pandemic.
A drastic shift in daily routines and schedules has left people feeling isolated, stressed and anxious. These are actually pretty natural responses to adversity. The way an individual effectively uses stress to cope with feelings of isolation and anxiety is what builds resilience.
For decades, positive psychology has studied the link between resilience and coping. Resilience Theory dictates that when people face adversity, it is how they deal with it that matters, and not the nature of the event. While it is impossible to completely keep stress at bay, positive psychology offers up a few tips and tricks to beat stress, isolation and anxiety.
Applying Positive Psychology To Manage Stress
The uncertainty of the situation can be overwhelming and lead to sadness or anger. Due to heightened levels of stress, people have resorted to panic-buying and hoarding resources. But a more effective way to deal with rising tension is self-compassion. Despite the crisis, we need to treat ourselves with compassion, pause and view things from a broader viewpoint.
You can begin by asking yourself-How much of what’s happening is within my control?
A very small amount, in all fairness. Therefore, taking care of oneself at this time is crucial. Even taking a few moments to breathe in and out is an act of self-compassion. It releases oxytocin and incites feelings of calmness and security. Without question, we are in uncharted territory and collectively trying our best to come to terms with a new reality.
You’re Not Alone: Use Resilience Strategies To Cope
We are only human. Our inherent desire to connect with each other is also our greatest strength. Self-isolation has challenged the way we live. According to Santos and Zaki, the viral pandemic may also be fuelling a loneliness pandemic. Although being able to interact face-to-face is still far away, there are plenty of ways to stay connected virtually and build resilience skills.
Being resilient means being mindful about what you consume on social media. Fake news, for example, can be detrimental to mental well-being and cause unnecessary panic. Resilience means deliberately looking for the positive part in an otherwise dull day, tuning in to your favourite podcast or playing a fun online game. Self-isolation does not have to be complete mental isolation as well. Building resilience could be as simple as buying food for an elderly neighbour. Simple acts like these create some sense of control, especially during adversity because it helps people feel like they are contributing positively, even in a small way.
Anxious? This Can Help Re-Wire Your Brain
You’re probably wondering what there is to be grateful for during a crisis. Interestingly, gratitude plays a massive role in dealing with anxiety. Research found that individuals who experience gratitude during stressful times such as natural disasters and tragedies actually report lower rates of PTSD!
Gratitude does not mean saying thank you extravagantly. In fact, being grateful for the small things connects people to something greater than their everyday sense of self. It enhance their ability to form healthy relationships and improves interpersonal relationships at work and home. Gratitude activates the hippocampus and amygdala, the two main sites responsible for regulating emotion and memory. Engaging in simple tasks such as writing a gratitude letter or penning down thoughts in a gratitude journal helps decrease feelings of anxiety and depression.
Positive psychology offers a bunch of tools such as gratitude, self-compassion and optimism to help build resilience. Although we are collectively dealing with the COVID pandemic, our individual resilience levels vary. While some people have used their time to work out at home, bake bread or create artwork, most of us have not been able to channel our energy creatively. Positive psychology does not mean forcing yourself to be happy even in the face of adversity. Instead, it encourages well-being by staying connected virtually and treating each other with kindness.
Which positive psychology tool are you going to try today?
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