From my room’s big square window, I see huge palm trees, the grass greener like never seen before, blooming red roses, birds flocking in groups and clear beautiful sky suddenly I get lost in my thoughts and start wondering how beautiful and joyous would it be if I can just go and touch those leaves of the trees, feel the grass under my foot and enjoy the shadow of those beautiful clouds.
While lost in my beautiful thoughts, I suddenly hear the news channels’ loud noise fearfully stating the rising number of diseased and deceased. In a blink, the reality of being locked down inside my square room comes back to me. I am sure all of you reading this must have had a similar encounter in recent days and felt so far from the things and people who were so dear to you and accessible in a snap of fingers (or as they say these days “just click away”).
Mental Health Amidst the Pandemic
We as a generation are experiencing circumstances that none of us would have believed existed aside from those science-fiction movies. We all our uncertain, anxious, scared for well well-being of ourselves, our family members, and the whole nation. Along with rising cases of COVID-19, cases of various mental health disorders are also rising at an alarming rate. In a recent article, ‘India Today’ (2020) highlighted that another challenge associated with the current pandemic situation, which is not receiving much attention, is the stress caused by escalating virus fears, complete isolation, the so-called social stigma, and daily news of death and infection.
Psychological Symptoms Unveiled
“The Guardian” also reiterated the importance of rigorous and accelerated research into the impact of COVID-19 on mental health as experts have said, “pandemic could have profound and potentially long-term impacts on mental health. Many people are experiencing sudden behavioral changes, such as feelings of loneliness, anger, anxiety, and helplessness, which have the potential to significantly impact psychological health. However, few measures are being taken to handle the psychological symptoms arising in the current pandemic situation. Bullmore and a team of colleagues in mental health sciences brought together by the charity MQ and the UK Academy of Medical Sciences have explained and asserted that “among key priorities is the need for real-time monitoring of mental health issues, both across the general population and at-risk groups, as well as healthcare professionals.”
Profound Questions in the Lockdown Era
Now that we have moved into the second phase of this lockdown it has altogether increased our various insecurities. I sometimes question myself “Is this pandemic going to change our coming generations as well?”, “Will the changes get inked into our genes” and “Will I ever again take that metro ride without being skeptical?” These are some of the questions for which I don’t have a certain answer right now, but a few ideas about which I am certain are the power of positive thoughts, hope, and human resilience.
Nicole DuBois (2020) in the book has elaborately spoken about Hope and its role in surviving in the face of adversity. He states that “Hope may very well determine a person’s ability to survive in this world.” Lenson (2018) has emphasized the role of hope and positive thinking by asserting that hope can help an individual in thriving and in facing day to day challenges. Similar results can be found associated with Optimism as well.
Hope and Resilience
Rollero et al. (2009) researched to find out the factors that create life satisfaction during times of adversity. They shared that optimism is a possible predictor of life satisfaction. Author and Researcher Devika and her colleagues (2016) have stated in a journal about how Hope and Resilience can help an individual sail through adversity. They describe that “Hope and resilience are both stable, psychological traits that can act as protective factors against adversity”. They have emphasized that cultivating positive psychological constructs such as positivity and optimism can enhance mood states and coping methods. Therefore, we can safely conclude that hope, optimism, and other positive psychological variables contribute significantly during times of adversity.
Now the question arises of how one can create that pattern of positive thinking. Every person has their way of coping, but a few measures that can help in minimizing the negative thought pattern are:
- Stepping away from the source of negative information
- Limiting the intake of news
- Reading various books that were on shelves for a long and you always wanted to complete them.
- Asking friends and family members about their way of coping and trying to experiment with that method
- Picking up a new hobby and learning it from YouTube tutorials.
- Exercise regularly
- Watching funny videos/movies
- Write down in a journal about your thoughts, emotions, and actions.
- Setting up a timetable and
- Practicing Mindfulness
- Altruistic activities
These measures can certainly help you in slashing away some negativity and will make you look forward to another day in this lockdown 2.0 Just remember that even if you can’t go out you can yet enjoy the beauty of trees and clear sky with a hot cup of tea from your room’s big square window.
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