Written by Volker Ballueder
This too shall pass; a mantra I have been saying to myself since the beginning of the year. The lockdown, the bad weather, the cold weather, all contribute to us feeling miserable, lonely, isolated. A lot of us are not ‘feeling it’ or are in a more sad state of mind. The snow almost came as a welcomed distraction.
This too shall pass - we will get through this. It’s not a question of ‘if’, but a question of ‘when’. The vaccine roll-out is moving quickly, and we are seeing better weather in the UK from March. So fingers crossed we are out of the worst by Easter time. I am hopeful.
Whilst I am hopeful by nature, I am also focusing on the positive news. I feed my brain positive information, positive thoughts. I laugh and smile a lot, trying to be in touch with friends and family regularly, even if via video conferencing.
When speaking about resilience last month, we looked at things like having fun, sleep, meditate and socialise. However, what do we build resilience for, I was asked.
By training our mind to think positively, and being able to cope with unexpected events, calming our thoughts, we prepare ourselves. This is like building a muscle in the gym, e.g. if you train your back regularly, you are less likely to get a back injury. Similar is true for the mind. When training the mind, you can build your resilience muscle of being able to first of all increase your self awareness.
With self awareness comes knowing when you feel stressed, or have ongoing negative thoughts. Sometimes, we jump to conclusions, or think too much about a situation. In mindfulness training, we often call it the ‘storytelling mind’, the inner commentary constantly chatting to you. Being aware of this being a positive story is key. And, if it is positive, we are moving to being more motivated, happier and a lot more cheerful. There is a lot to be said for this at the moment.
The opposite, is the downward spiral, where you are going into a negative loop, leading to worries, anxiety or even depression. That is something we want to avoid.
This is why I am so passionate about the topic. I like to prevent anyone from getting mentally ill, as prevention is still the best medicine. Resilience building is an exercise that prevents you from getting ill in the first place, being able to cope with life changes, unexpected events and situations you might find yourself in. Some people would call this stress.
And the heightened awareness of being able to tell when you get stressed, or your body or mind feeling overwhelmed, let you realise when to take a break, a breather. For the latter I love teaching a Three Step Breathing Space, which allows you to calm your mind down. It can be done in 30 seconds or 3 minutes, and helps you to gain control of yourself and your mind, combatting stress, exhaustion and long term anxiety.
So stick with it, make it a resolution to sit down 5 minutes a day and meditate.