"Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as going forward. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.”
~Carl Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul, Page 111.
Back in 2004 when I started Medical University specializing in Pandemic Studies I never thought of the mental aspect of living through a pandemic.
We learnt about viruses, bacteria and other pathogens as well as their effect on the human system. We studied a lot of anatomy, microbiology, psychology, public health and all that jazz...but not how to actually cope with a pandemic on a mental level.
Not long after that when I oriented my personal interest and training towards psychology and mental well-being I still didn't put two and two together. Both topics were purely deep interests of mine, but I never thought of associating Pandemic Studies with Mental-wellbeing. Then again...why would I have? - There's a difference between learning something and understanding it through experience.
Although I learnt about it, I didn't actually live through it...until 2020 hit.
The importance of our mental-wellbeing during pandemic became a very clear statement.
Governments world wide are promoting how exceptionally important hygiene and social distancing is during these times, but they don't seem to address the obvious; the stress and fear this adds to everyone's mental state.
Different people have different coping mechanisms; some stay behind closed windows and doors, some say they won't let it get to them and some deny that it exists.
The interesting thing that all these people have in common is that they are all more of less afraid in their own way.
If you just got offended, or continue to read in disbelief, remember that the human mind is like an iceberg. The biggest part is not what's above the surface, but what's below. The main mass, the base of an Iceberg (90%) is below the surface, such as the human mind's subconscious compared to everything that we are aware of. Most of our acts, feelings and thoughts are motivated and triggered by our subconscious. There's much more to the human mind than what one can comprehend.
This is why therapy, coaching and mindfulness is so important. Once we start understanding why we have certain thoughts or feelings, we become more mindful and gain understanding of ourselves and others on a much deeper level. We learn why we feel and think the way we do and the more conscious we become of our subconscious, the less fear, stress and negativity we'll allow into our life.
The biggest flex is if you have power over your mind instead of allowing your mind to have power over you.
Fear is a natural human defense for survival, it comes hand in hand with the EGO. It's triggered when we feel that we can lose something that we are in possession of; our job, our home, our partner, our title. The deepest trigger of fear in the subconscious usually leads back to the fear of death which we associate with the "unknown".
In all fairness, based on the above, we have all the reason to feel fear (whether it's conscious or subconscious) because we are in an unknown situation with the pandemic and probably other things in everyone's lives going on as well.
The good news is that once we become aware of this, we can take responsibility for our thoughts and feelings and as soon as we do so we can take the control back! Instead of allowing our fear to cause stress, anxiety, depression, sleeping problems and misery, we can choose to be more aware of it, understand it and introduce certain techniques and exercises into our routine to cope with it and find relief.
To focus our thoughts, energy and awareness is the most powerful ability we have as humans.
One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to shift our focus from our problems, future and past to the NOW. If we truly are focused on the present moment, you won't give space for fear and negative thoughts. If you still feel fear and have negative thoughts, that means you're not focusing on the now enough.
Shifting our focus is a very powerful ability, but it takes practice to do it right. Our mind is always keeping busy with all the thoughts and things going on around us. It's what we grew into and what society taught us: The more we think and the more space we give our thoughts, the better we'll do in life. - This is the model we learnt as we grew into a life where we acknowledge that there is past, present and future, time, tv shows, internet, people, family, places and certain things that constantly keep our mind and thoughts busy. Our mind is like a computer running thousands of programs at once and even though it seems to be working "fine", it's extremely overwhelmed.
I planned this blog post to explain more of giving tips for what you can do to improve your mental-wellbeing during these times, but instead it ended up laying the foundation of this topic.
It is important to know all the above, so now that we've laid the foundation and know what we're working with, we can start improving ourself and our life.
I will write more about that in my next post soon.
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