How to Mentally Weather the Current Crisis
Are you finding yourself overwhelmed and stressed out over the current Covid-19 situation?
Are your worries making it hard to do your work whether at home or still in the workplace?
Are you anticipating the worst possible outcome for you, your work or your family?
A few years ago, I was coaching a client who was beginning two new part-time jobs. Her biggest worry was being overwhelmed and stressed out with the new paperwork procedures that she would need to learn.
Here’s what she didn’t realize; she was generating lots of negative energy by her perspective on the paperwork. The story she was telling herself? “I know myself well enough to know that I will be overwhelmed and stressed out with the new paperwork. I will probably screw it all up.”
This mindset made her (you guessed it) overwhelmed and stressed out. Here’s what she wasn’t taking into account: This amazing, resourceful, talented woman had just recently and unexpectedly been let go from her former job, leaving her with a totally unplanned lack of income. In less than a month, she had put out enough resumes to snag five (!) job offers. She accepted two part-time jobs, which she considered her ideal situation.
So why would she even worry about being overwhelmed and stressed out about paperwork, after the stellar way she handled the previous crisis?
Our Inner Lizard Brain Loves to Keep Us Down and Out
Unfortunately we all have a tendency to focus on the negative which quickly becomes a habitual story. Our brains are like Velcro for the negative and Teflon for the positive. Every time you choose to focus on a negative, you are creating a habitual thought pattern that is destined to be repeated. You are creating actual neural patterns that then become the preferred and easier way to think. And you are depleting your energy. Here are some examples of stories that we tell ourselves:
- I’ve always suffered from a lack of self-confidence…it’s just the way I am.
- My job is in jeopardy and I’ll probably end up unemployed and on the street.
- I always get overwhelmed and stressed out when I have to tackle something new like unfamiliar paperwork.
I hope it doesn’t sound like I am making light of the current serious situation. We are certainly living in difficult and unfamiliar times. But as Churchill said in an equally difficult and unfamiliar time, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
These are all stories that we tell ourselves. They are anticipated situations created by our brain’s imagination. They are not reality–unless we make them so. We can get a grip on the positive energy that is at our service, just waiting to be tapped into. Here’s how to write a new story:
- Stay informed and follow safe guidelines. During the Covid-19 crisis it is important to do everything you can to stay safe and healthy. In addition to following health care guidelines, live a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy food. Exercise. Get plenty of sleep.
- Observe your thoughts objectively. Stop letting your brain run wild like an unruly toddler racing through the house with a pair of scissors in hand. Recognize that you are in charge of your brain and your thoughts. Write them down and…
- Evaluate your thoughts and decide if they are serving you. When you find yourself anticipating and replaying that scary situation over and over, ask yourself: Is this thought helping or hurting me? If the answer is hurting, it’s time to grab that toddler and redirect them into safer and more useful pursuits. Determine the source. If you are feeding your brain negative and frightening information through social media or conversations with negative anxious people in your life, redirect your attention elsewhere.
- Create a new thought pattern that serves you. This is not a positive affirmation that is unrealistic and out of touch. Instead this is a focused thought that feels real, supportive and true to who you are. In the example listed above, my client was able to acknowledge that having been successful in handling a near crisis in her career, that paperwork could be a non-issue for someone as resourceful as she had proven to be. Here is how you might restate your story:
- When I feel lacking in self-confidence, I know it is a sign I’m about to do something new and challenging, not a sign that I am incapable. I don’t let it hold me back from growing and changing.
- I’m a resourceful and capable person with many skills and talents. I can weather the current employment problem through planning ahead and gathering resources for the future.
- I’ve tackled bigger challenges than paperwork and I am capable of learning something new with confidence and calm.
- Practice your positive message by saying it out loud. Notice how often you are complaining to your partner about how stressed you are over your job? Change the story and tell him or her what opportunities you can find in the present situation. Do you frequently converse with your friends about the sad and frightening state of the world? Change your story and share what you see that is going well and how others are stepping up to the challenge. While you are at it, take the next step and start a gratitude journal where you regularly affirm what is positive in your life.
Recognizing and harnessing the positive energy that we all possess will result in you being your most calm and productive self. It will equip you for the challenges ahead. It will also help you provide a good role model for those you care about.
Changing your mindset is effective and rewarding but not easy. You will find lots of reasons or excuses for not doing it. Don’t let them hold you back. Just as the unruly toddler needs consistent discipline and love, so your inner lizard brain needs boundaries and appreciation.
Be the adult, the parent of your brain.
Of course it’s hard.
But it is so worth it.
We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. ~ Carlos CastanedaNeed a coach to help you create successful mindsets? Need a coach to help you create a plan to revitalize and regroup your business after the current crisis? Book a complimentary coaching call: https://bookme.name/dreamachiever I’m looking so forward to being a part of the changes in your life!