The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the way we used to know our world. Right from how we used to carry out our day-to-day functions to something as common as embracing the care of our loved ones, the pandemic isolated all of us to the four walls of our home. As we remain inside our houses patiently, doing the best we can to help the world fight back the virus, the past year has taken a tremendous toll on our mental health.
The psychological effects of being isolated from our dear ones, staying inside for a prolonged period of time with very few resources to help ourselves, in addition to the heart-breaking headlines we come across everyday, has generated serious health concerns such as mental health problems. Reports of individuals, especially teenagers and young people, being diagnosed with mental depression, developing ill habits and in some extreme cases self-harm tendencies have surged.
In the view of Public Mental Health awareness, Dutch Uncles spoke to the founder of Lucid Minds – Sridhar Laxman – who interacted with us on the live show under the banner ‘Navigating the challenging times’. The weekly live show is part of the company’s ‘MentorED’ series.
Below are the few highlights from the show:
What is Uncertainty?
There are no right and wrong answers, nothing good or bad. We just try to understand from a place of curiosity what uncertainty means to you. According to Sridhar, “Your meaning of what uncertainty is need not necessarily be true for someone else and that’s okay this is about you how do you learn to navigate on certain times. We are all aware that for the past 16-8 months there has been a pandemic raging and it has had a massive toll on the economy and the lives of people, especially on their mental health.”
He adds, “When there’s uncertainty there’s a sense of restlessness. There’s obviously stress. Sometimes it causes fear. There’s a feeling that you are not able to think clearly that suddenly all your resources, your mental facilities and faculties have come to a halt. It almost feels like you held back and froze. Sometimes clients tell me they’re extremely impulsive when they’re uncertain and when they’re stressed. When they’re impulsive they end up making rash choices and decisions and thereby they experience consequences or outcomes that are not pleasant.”
Further, the speaker elaborated the experience of what it feels like to move from a place of stress to a place of calm in order to achieve mental health
“Take a moment wherever you're seated, just close your eyes, close your eyes for a minute and think about something that has happened recently that's causing you stress. Think about something that's caused you stress, revisit that particular situation or the incident, just pay attention to that incident or that event keeping your eyes closed just revisit that space. And as you revisit that space and as you revisit that situation keeping your eyes closed gently brings your awareness to your body, keep your eyes closed and gently bring the awareness to your body and notice what sensations are you observing.”
Sridhar adds, “Is there some comfort, is there some discomfort, is there a heaviness, is there a sense of lightness, or is there a stiffness, is there a tightening of certain parts of your body. Gently just observe, don’t try to correct anything. The intent is just to observe for now what you experience when you think of your uncertain or difficult or challenging situation; body and mind work together, whatever we think about has an impact on our physiology and vice versa. Gently open your eyes and come back when you’re done with your observing and make a note of it again, this is just for you to become aware.”
Audience Q& A
How do I identify my purpose in life?
Speaker: I would encourage you to do a couple of things. One, maybe sit down some time, and make notes about what it is that you love to do, what comes to you naturally.
What would you do if your needs, financial needs, security needs and other needs were met? How would you spend your time? Look at what answers come up. Next, maybe go online and look for articles related to how to develop purpose. There are numerous articles by well-known personalities, psychologists, researchers, you would get some information on that. But I think it starts with listening to your heart, understanding and getting to know yourself better. What makes you come alive? What makes you feel like you’re at your best? What would you do if given a choice to do for the rest of your life?
I hope that again gives you something to work with.
How do I find the balance between analysis, paralysis and hasty decisions?
Speaker: Chase harmony, rather than balance, when you say how many, you know everything is not equal. But they flow with each other, sometimes. One is more, one is less, sometimes this is more, sometimes that is less, we are okay with the coexistence of these different parts in different proportions, rather than everything being equal, right?
Life is uncertain, we have no control, you’re not going to have everything exactly how you want. That’s the harsh reality. So, I think harmony is important.
The point that you raise around analysis paralysis is also to ask yourself what is the need? Where is this need coming from? What is it that you are seeking? What meaning does data have for you that you need to turn over and look into so much of analysis and it leads to as you call it, paralysis? What is driving this need? Then maybe try and manage that better. Again, you know, I’m aware, these are fairly intense, deep topics and it will take time to answer them. But for now, my point is in the simplistic manner. Ask yourself, what is driving this need for analysis? What are you not sure of, what is the fear or stress that’s causing you to analyse maybe something over and over again, and attend to the fear and the stress? Do that by opening the first door, which is to manage yourself, and then come back and see if the need for analysis is as high as before.