3 Lessons the COVID-19 Pandemic Taught Us About How to Improve Our Mental Health
21 months ago many parts of the world went into lockdown due to COVID-19. “Social distancing”, “wash / sanitize” your hands frequently” and “mask up” became part of our new vocabulary and the ‘new normal’.
The prevalence of uncertainty fueled frequent questions about when life would return to normal. Now more than ever, the pandemic has reaffirmed the importance of taking care of our mental-emotional well-being. Training ourselves to become more resilient and comfortable with uncertainty and the inevitable anxiety that it brings, along with being more compassionate and kind to others, has now become quite crucial for our mental health and well-being.
As the virus continues to mutate into more deadlier variants, whilst the pandemic challenges our social connections, many people still feel lonely and isolated. Research shows that loneliness, not only negatively affects our mental health at any age, it’s a contributing factor in the early death of older people.
According to Dr Richard J. Davidson (2021), there are 3 major lessons from the pandemic that will help us all to improve our mental health:
Lesson 1: Proactively Address Loneliness
As loneliness is a consequence of our mental perspective, which ultimately can be changed by changing our mental perspective and our behavior, we should then try to proactively reach out to loved ones and friends, whenever we can. We should also try to focus on staying in the present moment with our friends and family whenever we’re with them. Additionally, we should try to mentally extend thoughts and feelings of compassion to those around us – from the stranger walking past us, to our neighbor walking to their car. When we acknowledge that we’re all in this world together, sharing the same desire to be happy and healthy, we will feel less alone, as we’ll see that we have more in common with others, than perhaps we first thought.
Lesson 2: Adapt to Uncertainty
The importance of adapting to uncertainty, is another lesson the pandemic has taught us. During such an unprecedented and challenging time, questions that we’ve never had to consider before, such as, when will our lives return to something resembling normal, concerns about new mutated virus variants and what activities are considered safe, are still quite overwhelming. We’re all facing these new challenges together, whereby no one is immune to this level of uncertainty. However, with training we can learn to accept and even make peace with it, so it doesn’t completely derail us, which would be an extremely crucial skill to develop.
Lesson 3: Adversity is a Fact of Life
Finally, COVID-19 has taught us that no one can be completely sheltered from adversity. How we cope and then recover from challenging situations is crucial to our overall mental health and well-being. Therefore, as adversity is a part of our everyday lives, where challenging times will always surprise us, the most notable paraphrase that resonates here is ‘the crap will always hit the fan, but it’s how you clean it up that counts and determines how well you can cope and recover from it’. Thus, resilience is an essential life-long skill that we must all try to learn and continue to improve, as it will protect our mental, emotional and physical health throughout our lives.
In conclusion, developing the following 4 pillars of well-being will lead to greater resilience: Awareness, Connection, Insight, and Purpose. So no matter what challenges we’re faced with, once we’re trained mentally in each of these areas, they will ultimately protect our overall mental health and well-being.
If you’re facing any issues or challenges that you’re struggling with and would like help to develop greater resilience, then visit https://zennmore.com/search (under the Well-Being Category), where you will find our expert Counselors and Therapists offering the following well-being sessions that will help to improve your mental-emotional health.
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