The turmoil and uncertainties of the pandemic are likely wearing on you. You may have been tirelessly caring for your children while they learn remotely. You might be an essential worker worried about bringing the virus home to your family. You may be struggling to pay bills because of a job loss. Being isolated at home, trying to think of things to do, and longing for the social contact you once had can add to your anxiety.
Surely this pandemic is a test of mental toughness. Strengthening your resilience, gratitude, and faith, with awareness and practice, can help you cope better during this trying time. Here’s how:
“No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That’s the only way to keep the roads clear.” ~Greg Kincaid
A Japanese proverb says, “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” Resilient people hit rock bottom, failing or experiencing loss, and get back up to rebuild life. They have the grit that keeps them focused on achieving what they want, despite setbacks.
Resilient people also adapt to adversity, often quickly, to protect themselves and others from further anguish. They have a high tolerance for frustrating situations and are proactive in solving problems.
But it’s not so easy to weather all situations with grace and fortitude, especially the things that are out of our control. But to practice resilience is to better our health, according to an article, “Ramp up your resilience” by Harvard Medical School. The article says that resilience is “associated with longevity, lower rates of depression, and greater life satisfaction.”
Take the challenge: Be kind to yourself. This helps build resilience because we don’t take our mistakes and setbacks as hard, chastising ourselves for what went wrong. Instead, we react more as a caring friend would. This way we don’t add to the misery that can keep us feeling stuck.
Notice when you’re criticizing or judging yourself and, instead, think about how well you’ve been handling the pandemic. Place yourself as a priority so you can face the day strong, both physically and mentally. Be sure to eat healthily, get regular exercise and enough sleep, say affirmations, keep an optimistic outlook (gratitude can help), and forgive yourself.
Article resource: Caring for Ourselves: 5 Tips for Practicing Self-Compassion
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” ~Thomas Aquinas
Having faith is an inner knowing that things will work out without any evidence that it’s true. A great example of this is from the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, based on a book by Frances Mayes. Actor Vincent Riotta is consoling actor Diane Lane who is frustrated and upset because nothing seems to be going her way. What she wants in her life has not yet arrived. Here is what Vincent says to her:
“Signora, between Austria and Italy, there is a section of the Alps called the Semmering. It is an impossibly steep, very high part of the mountains. They built a train track over these Alps to connect Vienna and Venice. They built these tracks even before there was a train in existence that could make the trip. They built it because they knew someday, the train would come.”
It can be tough to have faith when the vaccine seems so far away, or a job loss happens. But if we trust, truly trust, that things will get better, we lift our spirits. So have faith in the talented scientists who will provide us with a vaccine soon. Have faith in the compassion and healing powers of our healthcare workers, and have faith in God or your higher power’s guidance and love to help see you through. If you do, you’ll feel more hopeful and optimistic.
Take the Challenge: Post a statement in your house that reflects a faith you have when it comes to the virus. It can be, “This too shall pass”, by the Persian Sufi poets. Or perhaps it’s a religious verse like, “With God, all things are possible”, or an inspiring quote. The idea is to have the note visible each day to encourage your faith.
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” ~Maya Angelou
Focusing on what you are grateful for in life rather than what you don’t have can increase your happiness by 25%, as scientifically proven. The trouble is that grateful thoughts do not come naturally for most, especially during tough times. A loved one may be ill from the virus or passed away from it. You might be struggling with the virus. If you have kids, you may have to manage their questions and fears about the virus. Not to mention the financial strain the lockdowns have placed on us.
How can we possibly feel grateful?
Practicing gratitude during times like this may seem tough, but research says that doing so helps your mental and physical well-being.
- Gratitude helps people recover more quickly from trauma, adversity, and suffering.
- Gratitude is linked to healthier blood pressure, heart rate, and a stronger immune system.
- Gratitude leads to better sleep quality and duration.
Gratitude reminds us of all that is good and right in life, renewing our sense of hope.
Take the Challenge: Write down three to five things you are grateful for every day. Start tomorrow. You can do this as part of your morning or evening routine. As you do, you’ll notice a shift in your thinking, from lack to abundance, which will increase your happiness.
Article resource: 20 Ways to Practice Gratitude for Health and Happiness
Practice these three inner strengths or virtues, when the uncertainty, fear and overwhelm of the pandemic starts taking hold of you. Even if you pick just one to practice, you’ll start to take your power back, helping you better manage the challenges of this pandemic.
What virtue(s) do you choose to practice. Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.