30 Mar How to Cope with the Stress of the Immediate Unknown
COVID 19 has been creating much stress and anxiety, and along with it, a fear of the “immediate unknown“. While people deal with it in different ways, here are a few good practices that have worked for me. I am no psychologist or doctor, and these are inferences based on the routines I follow, which I’m sharing for the benefit of all.
First, I believe that our bodies are engineered to look for danger. For millions of years, humans were hunters and gatherers, which exposed us to many natural dangers. This tuned our senses to look for danger and react to it. Don’t take my word for it. Just think of all the images of ice-age men you’ve seen. Can you show me an “overweight couch stuck ice-age man”?
I, therefore, believe that negative news or thoughts are more likely to impact us than positive ones. To be positive, we need to “re-train” our brains, and here are some routines I follow to feel better.
Visualizing positive outcomes: Every time I’m about to take that tough financial decision or go to that very important meeting, I just sit down and think “what will I do after this is done?” It could be anything, from something like having a beer and having a laugh to be celebrating the success of a closed deal. My point is visualizing an immediate positive outcome before the task will leave the lingering effect of that thought on your mind and give you the time to recover from the initial anxiety.
Relive positive memories at key moments in your life. To do this, ask yourself a simple question – Which are the happiest moments of your life? It could be the day you met your significant other, the day your kid was born or the day you started your company. Find 10 of those happy days of your life and write them down. Take 2 minutes first thing in the morning to visualize them. You will see yourself smiling and your brain will get tuned to this sort of visualization for the rest of your day.
Music is a great way to take you down the memory lane. So, to make it easier, you could even listen to the songs that you associate with those great moments. It will create a soothing effect on your nerves, get you to calm down and let you recollect all the wonderful memories associated with it – I call it the effect of recollection.
Last, spread calmness. Talk to others in stress, help them visualize positive outcomes. As they say, “the more you teach, the more you learn”, and one calmer person is always better than two anxious people in the house.