What if we created a 3rd wave?
The coronavirus pandemic leaves no one indifferent. We are all affected by it one way or another, to varying degrees and in the different roles we play in our lives. In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week, which took place in the week of October 11, let’s take the time to think about a better way to take care of ourselves.
This historic moment we are living can also be an opportunity to do something different in our lives. You may know that the human mind was made to cling to negative thoughts and experiences, like Velcro, and to not stick to the positive ones, like Teflon.
We will always ruminate a lot more on anything related to negative experiences: it’s a way of ensuring that we are wary of threats to better protect ourselves. This has been the case since the beginning of mankind, in order to anticipate and survive many dangers. Conversely, we don’t pay much attention to the positive thoughts. Since they don’t hurt us, we quickly forget about them. It’s as if they glide over us like water over a duck’s back. Therefore, we can imagine that, as we are facing a pandemic and there are real risks to our health in our living environments, our nervous system goes into overdrive to ultimately allow us to avoid these negative thoughts.
However, the impact of this functioning on our mental health has serious consequences. We become more anxious; some people will have panic attacks while others will experience symptoms of depression. These reactions are normal and expected when we reframe them in the current context. These reactions could progress to more persistent mental health issues and in these cases, it’s necessary to consult a health professional (doctor, social worker, psychotherapist, psychologist, etc.) or talk with a trusted person, who could refer us to the right professional.
But what if we could use these symptoms to bring us to a positive turning point in our lives?
Indeed, I think this is possible. The 1st wave of the coronavirus came. We were in shock, we told ourselves that it was going to pass, that it was going to be fine. Then came a second wave, which we currently are in. We are sick and tired of it, we feel isolated, sometimes upset and alone; we wonder when it’s all going to end.
I propose we use these waves to create a positive ripple effect in our lives! Considering the situation we are in...why not? It would be our 3rd wave. Let’s keep in mind that chaos always creates opportunity. The same goes for mental health. These discomforts that inhabit us also communicate relevant information to us about ourselves, about what no longer works in our daily lives, about the importance of remembering that we are the supreme authority over our own lives and that we can still make changes, even if it’s only to shift our perspective on things.
Instead of ruminating about everything that is currently wrong, if we were to ponder more over everything we could do differently and better, such as nurturing love, compassion, helping each other, and connections with the people around us and from whom we may have distanced ourselves. This is our zone of influence. In love. And if the positive increased, grew exponentially in our lives, by the addition of these moments of conscious effort that we put in to focus on what is going well, we would end up feeling more courageous towards our current situation, more confident that things might be okay.This 3rd wave of human connection, at the height of this chaos, let’s create it by first bringing our curious and well-meaning attention to what continues to be beautiful in us and around us. And then, really, even in a global-scale disaster, we’ll be able to say that things will be fine.