It’s been a scary time. There is bad news in the media 24/7. We are being asked to socially distance from each other. We may not be able to see our loved ones. Everyone has financial stress. Companies are having to make difficult decisions due to economic instability. It can be tough to see the power of positive thinking, much less practice it, but we promise that if you do, it will help.
Feel Your Feelings
A lot of us are experiencing a series of emotions, including grief, fear, anger, frustration, anguish, loneliness, boredom and more. And it’s OK to lean into those feelings. Allow the feelings to happen. Name them and you can process them in an orderly way.
If you don’t experience your feelings, they can consume you and you can get stuck. Coping with stress becomes increasingly difficult. Fear turns to panic. Sadness to depression. Anger to rage. When you can name what you are feeling, you can feel it and move past it. You can feel empowered instead of victimized.
If you can recognize your feelings early, such as anger, you can avoid getting to rage. You can also think about how to let go of what you can’t control. Right now, a lot of things are out of your control. What this virus is doing, what your government is doing, what your neighbor is doing—all of this is out of your control. Focus instead on what you can control: staying home, maintaining social distance, washing your hands and making the best out of a difficult situation.
Choose Gratitude & Positivity
The findings in psychology research show that positive emotions help us to undo the negative effects of stress. Research has shown that when we experience positive emotions on the back of a stressful event, we bounce back more quickly and have a faster “cardiovascular recovery” time—our heart rate lowers and our blood pressure stabilizes more quickly when we are able to practice positivity.
A study where people were deliberately infected with the influenza virus and rhinovirus found that those people who had more positive emotions were more likely to fight off the symptoms.
People low on positive emotions were 2.9 times more likely to contract a respiratory illness in this study.
Set actionable goals. Try to start and end your day with a conversation, meeting or task that will make you feel good. Humans get deep satisfaction from accomplishing something. We also feel better coming out of an uplifting or rewarding conversation with another human, so start a routine of sharing with your family and team—what went well and how you feel about it.
Think about all the good things in your life—your health, home, family, friends, pets, a great meal, a good night’s sleep—everything large and small that you are grateful for. Now is a perfect time to lean into the small moments—the smell of coffee or cookies in the oven, the feel of the warm shower, a peaceful sunrise, listening to music, playing with your pet. When you stop and really reflect on your gratitude, you are giving your brain a chance to process the pleasure, which boosts your serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter that helps elevate your mood, increase your optimism and make you feel calm.
Last, but not least, don’t forget to breathe. Repeat some positive affirmations: “Everything is going to be OK.” “This is temporary.” Say them out loud and often.
Adjusting to change can be challenging for individuals and teams, and we are in a time of tremendous upheaval. Don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help with any of our programs or a customized workshop. We’ll all emerge from this stronger than ever.