We are holding the world in our fingertips, and coming to grips with the idea that the planet we live on is fragile and unpredictable. With widespread lockdowns, high market volatility, company closures, travel bans and government action escalating, fears are mounting. The coronavirus has left the world in a state of shock.
Finding a balance between the information overload, and staying rationally informed is not easy, when also factoring in the emotional turmoil caused by the global pandemic. Panic is an easy first reaction, but the good news is that there is a healthy solution to maintain your mental health in the process of introspection and reflection.
Social Distancing for the Mind
Benjamin Franklin prescribed moderation as the best cure to suffering. During times of crisis, it is important to balance awareness, with peace of mind. Keeping information at a distance is not ignorant, rather enlightened. Think of it like social distancing for the mind. Moderating information can alleviate stress and anxiety, as well as eliminate unnecessary fear traps. That is not to say we should eliminate the news entirely, just to seek moderation.
Guidelines to Alleviate Fear with Moderation in Mind:
Here is a guideline to manage fear in the best way possible, that does not mean ignoring or minimizing it, but rather embracing the fear, and becoming stronger from it.
- Filter Your Sources: Find 2-3 sources that you trust 1) One national or international source like the CDC, 2) One local source 3) One research source
- Social Media Distancing: Don’t spend your time mindlessly scrolling through the feed of emotional distress. Put your phone away, read a book, focus on strengthening your career, spend time calling a friend or family member or go out for a walk.
- Feel your feelings: It is okay to be scared. An important part of maintaining your mental health is to allow yourself to feel emotional, and to not ignore those feelings. Have an open dialogue with others about how you feel, this will help you solve the problem and process your emotions.
- Implement Smart Updates: Staying updated is still important, but limiting the time spent getting updated can be a healthy way to move away from fear.
- Exercise: One of the most impactful methods of maintaining mental health is physical health. The amount of effort required is minimal to still achieve some major results. A recent study found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of depression by 26%.
- Help Others: There is a large vulnerable group especially immunocompromised individuals and the elderly who are in need of help. In order to come out stronger, we must come together as a collective society, by helping others you are helping yourself. By refocusing our attention to others, we can distract ourselves from our own fears, and instead take action over worrying.
- Maintain Routine: Continue to eat, sleep and work from home. Maintaining routine is an important part of maintaining emotional health.
- Practice Mindfulness: Yoga, Meditation, or any mindfulness practice can keep your mind peaceful during a time of stress and instability.
We hope this will help you navigate your mind, during a time of uncertainty. Use this time to take care of yourself and the people around you. Stay aware, but don’t let it overwhelm you into fear. Stay proactive and stay safe!
The Founder Institute is a strong proponent of mental wellbeing and in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak we believe it is more crucial than ever to provide support. Therefore, we have created a health hub to collect resources and tools to alleviate mental health related problems during these trying times. Please visit the Founder Institute Mental Health Hub for more information.
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