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Shifting Your Mindset As We Navigate COVID-19
By Laura (Crooks) Greco, RN

Since COVID-19 came roaring to life you have undoubtedly experienced a range of emotions, maybe anger, fear, anxiety, grief, resentment, confusion, relief, disappointment, gratitude, hopelessness, and frustration. Your mindset affects how you manage your emotions and behavior. In fact, your mindset affects your life, thoughts, actions, and achievements.

Our mind and body are powerfully connected and constantly sending each other information about our internal and external environment. When we are calm and relaxed our pulse and breathing are slower than when we are stressed or excited. If we can consciously slow our heart rate or breathing, we send a message to our brain to calm down. If we can think peaceful or solution focused thoughts, we can calm our body.

Below are some thoughts and tips on managing emotions and shifting our mindset toward positivity.

  • Know that experiencing a wide range of emotions during stressful times is normal.
  • You are responsible for managing your emotions.
  • You can choose which thoughts to focus on more than others.
  • Your brain will find more examples of whatever you think about most. (If you perseverate on the bad, negative, and scary events you will tune in to more of those. If you dwell on your strengths in handling stress and positive events you will notice more of those.)
  • Seemingly conflicting emotions can co-exist. (You can enjoy having no commute while working from home and worry about the stability of your job and miss your coworkers.)
  • Take 3 slow belly breaths. Inhale and exhale through your nose, letting the exhale be longer. Make each breath slower and more purposeful than usual.
  • Name the emotion(s) you are feeling. Try phrasing negative emotions to identify them, not to embody them: “I am feeling ___”, as opposed to “I am ___.”
  • Practice self-compassion. Place your hands over your heart and say, “This is hard”, or “I am doing my best.” We tend to be harsh and judgmental with ourselves; talk kindly to yourself as you would to a friend.
  • Practice gratitude. Identify several things for which you are grateful (sunshine, children’s’ laughter, your pet’s whiskers against your cheek, friends, spotting a fun/unique mask…).
  • Perform random acts of kindness. Hold the door for someone, let someone merge, give a compliment, check in on a neighbor.
  • Ask: what can I learn from this?

Changing how you perceive a situation changes your neurochemicals and stress levels. From there your mood, energy and sense of wellness can change. You can shift your mindset!

If your emotional health is significantly affecting your quality of life, please work with a qualified practitioner.

Laura (Crooks) Greco, RN, is a wellness coach and speaker who helps professionals eliminate burnout, manage stress, create life balance and rekindle their sense of purpose and joy. She is the author of Wellness Made Simple. For more information, please visit her website www.YouBloomWellness.com.

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