There’s something about five lockdowns and living through a global pandemic that has really got me thinking about mindset and how to forge ahead during these difficult and uncertain times. With still no end in sight, I have had time (months of time) to ponder over my own experiences and to listen to, research and observe how other people seem to adapt more easily to the forever changing situations thrown their way. It has made me think; What do they have that I have struggled with? Can this be changed? How can this be changed?
Time allowed me to read, so I had been reading a lot lately and the books I had been drawn to were from successful business people, psychologists, stoics and professional athletes. What they have all done is a lot of was falling down, facing adversity in many ways, but getting up to try again, despite what others thought of them and for each of them mindset certainly came into play in their success. Although I was not totally convinced about the benefits of gratitude, positive affirmations and meditations, the idea kept appearing and I acknowledged that there had to be a better way for me to respond to the uncertainty that had me on edge. Determined not to fall down the anxiety driven, fight or flight response every time, above was my starting point for altering my mindset and for personal growth.
A journey of personal development is not easy and is also a continual learning curve. Old habits are difficult to ditch and looking back on my childhood there had been a lot of pessimism and negative conversations about failing and taking risks. Perfectionist by nature and also by product, I was taught to walk the middle road, stay safe and cautious and while I am sure this helped me in many ways, it also hindered me, led to self doubt and narrowed my mindset. In many ways it led to me trying to control and manage all aspects of life. What I learnt was that we need to fail, fall down and face some adversity in order to grow. Not so much to break us, but consistent sprinkles to prepare us for those bigger events. I think of it in a similar way to training you body for an event, consistent application to create speed, strength, endurance and health, but in this case we are training the brain to adapt to adversity more readily.
I read many affirmations and I also had a book that I read a page of daily on gratitude. It allowed me to recognise that although I may be struggling, not to discount that but to focus on the elements of what are within my control, for example how I react to things. As a perfectionist, control has been a big part of putting me on edge. There are many elements we can’t control within a global pandemic, but I can alter my response. From reading about self care, gratitude, honing into who I am and what is important to me, there are actually lots of things I can do. For me, daily movement and getting outside is really important. It clears my mind, reduces anxious energy and lets me reconnect with nature. It allows me to be mindful, which takes me away from my fight or flight mode. Learning is also important to me, so interesting podcasts can fill this need when I am time poor trying to juggle home schooling, mum stuff, business stuff and getting a bit of time for me. I learnt that the more I filled my cup, the more tolerant I was to everything going on around me and I am certain I was more pleasant to be around.
What I learnt
So we’re into day four of our fifth lockdown and as always the days are up and down. But rather than thinking about what if the lockdown will be extended, if the case numbers rise, the work I can’t do, the schooling and connections that are being missed, the money being lost and how will the effect us going forward? I am just thinking about the next hour or so. There’s nothing I can do about many of the above things. But I can make the most of today or just get through it and make sure that I fill my cup. In learning some of the above I have also altered how I parent my daughter. I noticed that I often intervened if my daughter was going to fail or if she was struggling but now I guide her and realise that she needs to fail sometimes in order to manage bigger things later on in life.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is of a general nature and is a reflection of my own personal experiences and thoughts. This should not be considered as individual advice.