As the UK heads into our second lockdown, i thought it would be a good idea to share with you a popular Youtube video i wrote about 15 ways to manager your mind in chaos or uncertain times.
Whether it’s a virus, a recession, terrorism, or something else going on in the world, sometimes we enter a season where things are uncertain, scary, and even tragic.
This is the most important time to manage your mind. And as your self-love mentor, that’s what I’m here to help you do.
Here’s how you can manage your mind during this season (or any season) where you’re experiencing uncertainty, fear, or loss.
1. Write Down Everything That’s Going On In Your Mind
The first part of managing your mind is to write down all the thoughts you have.
Get it all out there.
Just go on a rant without lifting your pen about everything going on in your mind.
Don’t judge yourself here. Approach yourself with curiosity, compassion, and love.
Do this for as much as you need — anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
2. Separate Out The Facts From The Thoughts
Next, separate out all the facts and write them down on a separate page.
The facts will be boring.
I have coronavirus or I don’t. The kids are off school for three weeks or they’re not.
They won’t have words like “devastation” or “catastrophe” or “terrible.”
The facts are what I call the “math”—20 people have Coronavirus in the United States.
Even be careful when you’re describing stats that may appear to be facts but could be skewed.
3. Be On To Your Brain
Notice your brain go to the worst case scenario.
Your brain is wired for survival.
It’s primitive job is to keep you alive.
It’s normal to default to worry and extremes.
When left unmanaged, your brain will objectify other humans, it will indulge in fear, it will default to fight or flight. It’s a protective mechanism. Your brain FREAKS OUT at the unknown. It can’t handle it. But it’s a lie. It’s just trying to protect you. It doesn’t understand you can always protect yourself.
You don’t have to be panicking or worrying around…. Ever!
Also notice that your brain is going to look for evidence of what you already want to believe.
It could become obsessed with researching and trying to get more information.
This is in an effort to feel more in control (again, totally normal) during uncertain times. Let’s remember our survival, primitive brain is like a toddler with a butterknife: it means well, but unsupervised, causes chaos.
The chaos is in our unmanaged mind.
Here’s what I recommend you do…
4. Give Yourself “Worry Time” If You Need It
Don’t resist the urge to worry.
But don’t indulge either.
We love to become addicted to our problems.
To be onto yourself, give yourself “worry time” every day.
This may look like every day for 20 minutes in the morning, you allow yourself to worry about everything and anything.
5. Add Constraints To Your Media Input (TV, Podcasts, Etc.)
Limit the amount of media you consume per day.
You may want to be educated and informed (I do, too), but limit that input time per day to a certain number of minutes.
For example, you might allow yourself to watch 30 minutes or 1 hour of the news every morning (or evening) and that’s it.
Then you stay informed but aren’t consumed by the conversation every day.
Also, I highly recommend balancing your news intake with an equal amount of positive media intake.
Your brain needs to be inundated with positive thoughts just as much as it needs to know the facts. Remember this.
6. Don’t Escape Your Life With Food, Alcohol, Or Shopping
It’s really tempting to escape your life during hard times because the negative emotion is so strong that you want to indulge in external pleasure to feel better. Don’t do this!
You’ll learn more on the external and feel worse once the short term high wears off.
Instead, learn how to feel your negative emotions and process the urge.
Plan your pleasure (food, alcohol, and spending) ahead of time. It’s easy to overeat, overdrink, and overspend in an effort to feel better, but the long term effect of this on your health will be negative. It won’t serve you.
Notice this about yourself now and which pleasure you prefer. Then put constraints in your life to make sure you don’t escape the negative feelings.
7. Decide How You Want To Think And Feel Ahead Of Time
I say it a lot but I’m going to say it again: your thoughts cause your feelings.
This isn’t dependent on what’s going on in the world.
So you can decide on purpose what you want to think and feel about Coronavirus.
You don’t have to feel worried, panicked, or afraid. You can feel calm, at peace, and content.
It doesn’t make you irresponsible. It doesn’t mean you don’t care. You can care on purpose. You can feel good and still do your part. Worry isn’t helping anyone.
8. Pay Attention To Your Thoughts
When your circumstances are something other than what you want, it’s extremely important for you to pay attention to your thoughts.
This increases your awareness of your thoughts and allows you to choose what to think and feel on purpose.
I want to give you some thoughts that aren’t useful as well as thoughts that are useful so you can see the difference.
- I’m unprepared.
- This is horrific.
- The world is devastated.
- This shouldn’t be happening.
- People are scared, and now I’m nervous.
- The world has gone mad.
- There are so many communities struggling because of this.
- I don’t know how people will manage this.
- People are going to lose their minds.
- This is getting dangerous.
- We are in a global crisis.
- I’m worried about the future.
- I’m going to run out of x,y,z.
- The economy is in trouble.
- Everyone is losing money.
- It’s going to be a very long time before we recover.
- It’s time to pause.
- I’m prepared for today.
- I’m safe.
- My family is safe.
- My brain doesn’t like the unknown and that’s okay.
- I can always solve today’s problems.
- I can do my part to help without being scared.
- There’s always more money.
- It was always supposed to happen this way.
- I was made for this.
- There’s no rush.
- I have more time with my family.
- This is an opportunity for me to practice transitioning.
- We’re not going to run out of what we need.
- I’m getting stronger because of this.
- I can care deeply about this without worrying.
- Panic isn’t useful here.
- I care about my health, my family’s wellbeing, and the world.
- It’s safe to have fun right now.
9. Focus On What You Can Control And Practice Self Care
During a transition, our brain looks for ways to have control (which of course is impossible).
But to appease your brain, you can do things in your daily routine that will satisfy the control urge.
Here are my best self care tips that will give you a sense of certainty and control during times of transition:
- Create a new routine based on the new circumstances (e.g.: if you’re working from home and the kids are home from school, start having lunch all together from 12pm-1pm every day).
- Say what you’re grateful for every morning (starting your day in a state of appreciation will change the entire day for you).
- Dress up in nice clothes and put on makeup daily (including if you’re working from home).
- Exercise daily (even going for a walk from 5:30pm-6:00pm can be enough).
- Coach yourself daily.
10. Look For Positive Ways To Connect With People
We love to connect with people over our problems.
During a time of distress, limit how much you focus your conversations on what’s going on in the world.
It’s one thing to get new information and stay up to date.
It’s another thing to talk about how worried you are and how we’re all going to die immediately.
What we talk about matters, so use your time with others to have compassion and spread more love than fear.
11. Pay Attention To Your Feelings Driving Your Actions
Whenever you take action it’s because of how you feel.
That feeling can either be positive or negative; useful or non-useful.
For example, let’s say you intentionally wash your hands a lot during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Are you washing your hands because:
- You’re afraid of getting sick and from a state of panic?
- You want to practice and attract good health?
The difference is everything.
For all of the decisions you make during this time, think about the emotional state you’re in when you’re making these decisions.
The more you can calm yourself down and get into a better state, the better, more thoughtful decision you’ll make. Making a decision from fear is never a good idea.
Making a decision from a state of calm is always a good idea.
When you’re in an emotional state of panic, fear, or worry, and you take action from that place, you’re creating more panic, fear, and worry. It will compound.
If it’s health and wellbeing you want, focus on being healthy, spreading love, and appreciating what’s good about having health.
Notice that this will be hard to do if you’ve been in a lot of negative emotion because it’s easier to continue with the emotion you’ve been feeling than to change your thoughts and feelings.
If you want to attract health, you must get into a healthy state of mind. That is the best thing you can do. Then take action from there.
What we tend to do is focus on the disease, instead of health. We have a “war on terrorism” and a “war on drugs” and the “fight against x, y, and z.” While well-intended, this focuses and creates more of the very thing we don’t want. This isn’t useful. It doesn’t get us what we want.
12. Acknowledge The Resistance During This Transition
Whenever something new and different happens that takes us off the normal course of things, there’s enormous resistance.
This is because the path of least resistance is to keep doing what you’ve always done.
It’s very easy to keep going about the same routines because your brain has the momentum of it and it’s really efficient and easy.
So when something like Coronavirus changes the path you’re on, it creates resistance. Where there is resistance there is a lot of negative emotion. We don’t like change — especially change we didn’t have a say in.
Be onto your brain with this. Allow the transition. Pause with yourself. Pause with the world. Notice that the transition is full of resistance and that’s okay.
There will be a change in the path, a new way, and it was unexpected. It’s only a problem if you tell yourself it’s a problem.
This can be an opportunity for you to practice resilience and service to the world.
13. Remember: Circumstances Are Neutral And That Means You Have All The Power
Remember how I had you separate out the facts from your thoughts in the beginning of this before talking with you about your brain?
Well, that’s because I want you to really see that your circumstances are 100% neutral.Not a little bit neutral. Not neutral unless it’s Coronavirus neutral. I’m talking all the timeneutral.
This means that your circumstance (the facts), such as: Coronavirus, the stock market going down, the kid’s schools being closed, or events being cancelled are all neutral.
You have the power to think ANYTHING you want about your circumstances.
If this is a completely new concept to you, check out this post so you can read more about it: WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS POSSIBLE FOR YOUR FUTURE?
This doesn’t mean separating yourself from others and telling them they’re wrong for thinking what they’re thinking.
It means having compassion and love for people who are just trying to figure it out like you. Then deciding on purpose what you want to believe. And believing hard whatever thought you want about all of it.
This is power, my friend.
Imagine if we all focused on health and wellness during Coronavirus.
Imagine if we all focused on love and community during a terrorist attack.
Imagine if we all had the awareness of our own primitive brains and talked to ourselves and got us into state to feel better, and then took action from there.
Worrying feels necessary here, but it is not.
14. Whatever Your Problem Is: Thought Work (Personal development) Is The Solution
People ask me why they need personal development.
What’s going on in the world today is exactly why everyone needs personal development.
Even when there’s nothing “big” going on in the world, there are always problems you’re facing in your life.
You need a personal development to help you manage your mind through all of it — the big and the small.
It can show you your mind, show you how to solve your problems, help you feel better, and give you the steps to move forward.
15. YOU GOT THIS!
There’s nothing you can’t handle.
There’s nothing you have to worry about.
Worrying doesn’t make you more responsible.
You can handle everything that comes your way.
You were made for this.