Mindset Training Through a Global Pandemic
It’s Getting Dark Outside
Hold on tight to gratitude, squeeze her close to you like she’s your best friend. Breathe in her soft perfume and bathe in the warmth of her smile.
Be as proud of her as you are your daughter; who plans to smash the patriarchy after lunch.
Hold her hand in precious uninterrupted moments when all there is to worry about is your tea going cold.
Cozy up to her when watching a TV show that makes you laugh.
It’s getting dark outside and it’s going to be a very long night, so,
get ready to hold on tight.
As life gets harder I am holding on tight to gratitude. And it is helping. When I did my rehab from neurological injury training I discovered that it didn’t matter how hard you worked someone’s body if their mind wasn’t willing. For my final essay for my course I researched mindset training for recovery. I’m in the slow process of developing this idea further into an app. Happily, it has been a really useful tool for me to use over the past few months. Covid has changed everyone’s lives in a similar way to that of a dramatic injury. My Dad had a stroke in 2018. When I first asked him how lockdown was going for him he said it’s like he’s had his stroke again - but everyone else had joined him this time. As he knows full well, isolation is rubbish, all of your plans disappearing is hard and losing a sense of purpose is really difficult. What he also knows is that it gets better and that it won’t be like this forever. My Dad has amazing resilience, he worked hard on his rehab and was very engaged with his recovery. In psychological terms he was motivated; had a strong sense of self efficacy; a high internal locus of control and positive self esteem. In other words he believed four important things - I’m ready; I’m in charge; I can do this and I am worth the effort.
These beliefs don’t come easily to all of us. But our brains are very open to change and to training. The more that we focus on positive thoughts the stronger those neural pathways become in our brain. So I have four exercises for you to try today, read each affirmation and think through the questions. By the end of the day I hope something will have resonated with you and served as a useful tool for dealing with this “new normal.”
As a way to get out of my usual thinking habits I will choose an animal to be my role model. I will use its energy for guidance, to teach me lessons, for protection, for power and wisdom. I choose an animal that has qualities and attributes that I admire and would like to focus on more in myself. I might choose a group oriented or lone creature; an active or sedentary animal. It doesn’t matter which one I choose today, it might change as my needs do. When I come to an obstacle I will face it with the character of my chosen animal.
3 strengths that I admire in my animal are…
Today I channel the energy of a…
Today I choose to treat and speak to myself as I would a friend. I can listen to my inner critic and listen, respond and stick up for myself. I can admit that I am not perfect but who is? I can dig a little deeper into the source of the self criticism. Am I in a bad mood, stressed, jealous, insecure or triggered? Is my inner voice a bully? Is my inner voice right? Really? I give myself permission to let go of the negative feelings about myself and accept the good. I focus on what I have and what feels good instead of what I don’t have and what hurts.
I am grateful that I am..
I make the world a better place when I..
Today I will only focus on the things that can be changed. I can’t change what happened yesterday but I can change what happened today and what will happen tomorrow. I will focus on the day ahead because my past is behind me. Life moves in only one direction – forward. I will decide what the next positive step is, now matter how difficult or small is it is and I will take it. If there are things that I can’t change, then I will change the way I think about them. I will turn my resentment into appreciation. I will surround myself with people who boost me up, support me and give me energy.
The next positive step is…
Something I can’t change is ________ so I change how I think about it to_______
Giving to others is a way to take action and have control over my life. It is a way to do something that I enjoy. It also gives me purpose and improves my health. Sharing with others is a way to create connection with people. Today I will think about what I have to give. Do I want to fundraise for a cause that is close to my heart? Do I want to volunteer with a community group? Will I give a talk to a support group? Will I check in on family, a friend or a neighbour? There are so many things that I have to offer.
I am so lucky to have…
A charity or a cause that is close to my heart is…
Good luck navigating through all this. Something else I’m doing that is helping me find a way through is writing. Here’s a piece on knowing my values, knowing my Why and letting that knowledge guide me even if I am a little lost right now:
The First Rule of Bushcraft
Never stray from the path, keep your compass on hand always and know where you are on the map.
Well, This forest is dark and damp and I am bush whacking my way through. I am hunting for the path but my compass is broken and I can’t even find my map. I’ve been here before though and every time I manage to find my way out and every time I gain a new skill, an insight, an inner wisdom that makes my life that much more meaningful.
So as the wolves howl in the distance and the rain beats down I need to dig deep. I need to check in with what’s important to me - my family, movement, nature, creating and learning. They will be my guiding light out of here