The current global health crisis and social isolation makes many of us aware that our mind is also a battlefield.
Some people struggle with negativity while others demonstrate impressive resilience. Here are some helpful hints…
Even in the most ugly of circumstances, there is wonder to be admired. A weed with a magnificent yellow flower springing up between ugly, cracked and harsh concrete. The 1998 movie Life is Beautiful, set surrounded by concentration camps, teaches us there is always an opportunity to seek moments of beauty even in the most distressed circumstances.
Life can be a matter of perspective. Try looking up at the night sky and marvelling at the moon and stars.
Or think more abstractly like Helen Keller, who was left deaf and blind by an illness not long after she was born in the late 1800s: ‘the best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart”.
There is always something to be grateful for. Rather than thinking about what you’re missing out on, celebrate what you do have.
Harvard Health Publishing looks at psychology research and says gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships – and explores ways to cultivate gratitude.
Whether it’s writing, creating art, playing music – or even gardening like Seasons Caloundra resident Faye – being creative is good for your brain.
An article by Forbes says repetitive creative motions like knitting, drawing, or writing help activate flow, and are all tasks that create a result. And when you succeed at creating a result, your brain is flooded with dopamine, a feel-good chemical that helps motivate. Other benefits of creativity include reduced depression, improved cognitive function, mind focus and calming effects.
As the Serenity Prayer says ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference’.
While we can change some things and be proactive, it’s also important to acknowledge we all have struggles and life can be difficult.
According to an article in Psychology Today, whether it’s a financial crisis, health diagnosis, loss of an important relationship, or any other unanticipated, unpleasant event, fighting what is won’t make it not so. Instead, when we battle with reality, we cripple our capacity to cope with the situation.
What nurtures your body and soul?
Self-care can take so many forms: from sleeping and eating well to learning how to say no and maintain personal boundaries.
It might include watching a comedy to enjoy a good belly laugh – or sitting in the sunshine and soaking up the warmth and feeling of cosiness.
Exercise is important for brain health as well as physical health.
University of Melbourne Professor Nicola Lautenschlager said evidence suggests physical activity can protect the brain through indirect effects, such as by lowering blood pressure and increasing heart health or through direct effects like stimulating nerve cells.