Vanda North asks this question. Then answers it below.
What can be BIGGER than the Covid–19 pandemic that we are all experiencing?
The MEGA-crisis of emotional turmoil that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused.
More and more papers are being written about the mental/emotional reaction of people, and it appears that we are not managing at all well.
How are you faring? Please take our poll at the end of this article. It is only 2 clicks and the results will be accumulated and published, so you may see where you are in relation to the ‘rest of the world’!
At a general level people report they are feeling numb, powerless, and hopeless. This is a Molotov cocktail of emotions. The depth of each of these is an immensely debilitating emotion.
To be numb is to be traumatised; disoriented; deadened; dazed and deeply distressed. It is a defence mechanism employed by your mind to avoid overwhelming emotions. However, it also prevents you from experiencing pleasure and positive emotions and curtails social interests and even problem-solving, these aspects could help to counterbalance the numbness.
To feel powerless is to experience incapacity; ineffectiveness; weakness and enslavement. This usually happens when you consider areas where you feel a lack of strength, competence, or skills to overcome realities in life that seem to have no solution or answer. Powerlessness refers to the expectancy that your behaviour cannot determine the outcomes you seek. You feel out of control and worse yet, you can see no way of regaining that power control.
The emotion of hopelessness is to be desperate; forlorn; morose; bleak and totally doomed. Frequently you may have a continual dark mood, the black cloud over your head, and this can influence your view of yourself, others, and the future. You can lack inspiration and feel completely alone. Sadly, this is often tied to poor mental and physical health and may encourage thoughts of suicide.
Control, or rather lack of it, is at the heart of these negative responses. Removing the feeling of control is one of the fastest ways to undermine your well-being at every level. In 1954 psychologist, Julian Rotter coined the term ‘locus of control’, this is where you either feel that control lies withing you, or externally in others or outside situations. This is a continuum; however, you will probably experience an overriding direction.
One way to manage:
Check your BEAT!
At first glance this may appear too simple to be effective. It is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and is a very quick, easy, and powerful way to regain control over yourself. You may not have much control over what happens ‘out there’, and that can be very unsettling, but you do have the means to control your reaction to it all.
BEAT is an acronym for Body; Emotions; Actions and Thoughts.
Body check – do an imaginary x-ray of your body, check for tension, tightness, or pain
Body choose – move, stretch, take a short break; stand rather than sit; do a mini exercise
Emotion check – what feelings are you experiencing? Frustration; tiredness; apathy; grumpy
Emotion choose – ask if that is the best emotion for what you are doing, if not, what would be? Try putting that emotion on. Remember that you control the emotion you choose.
Action check – how much energy are you using for the task you must do? If you are angry, it may be too much
Action choose – think of only using the energy required to complete the task, breathe, and stay calm
Thoughts check – do you have a negative voice chatting to you, pulling you down?
Thoughts choose – speak to yourself as you would encourage a dear friend, cheer yourself on.
Do this right after you hear a piece of bad news or become aware that you are tensing because of a situation or preparing for a difficult meeting – quickly check then choose the aspects to control you in this moment. What an amazing gift that is!
And here is the poll I mentioned, please let us know how you are faring.
Contact Vanda at [email protected]
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