In recent weeks I have been talking a lot about the phenomenon that is the corona coaster; the unpredictable ups and downs so many of us have been experiencing of late. Going from euphoric “this is great… we’re at home, the sun’s out, I don’t have to commute anywhere, I’m not wearing shoes…” to the overwhelmingly anxious “the world is ending, I hate everyone, nothing is certain”.
With so much going on in the world outside, and the incredibly challenging times we’re in, it’s completely understandable that we’re all suffering these extreme ups and downs. Yet it’s also true to say that we don’t have to allow ourselves to be dragged along by them.
Our moods are, of course, being influenced by external factors (which is why I have given up watching the news completely!) but it’s important to remember that the ups and downs of the corona coaster exist entirely in our heads therefore we are actually able to control it.
Controlling the ride
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. There’s no stop button to press (although I have found alcohol seems to slow it down!) but if we start by remembering that our thoughts and feelings don’t actually exist then we are at least part way to realising that the corona coaster can be powerless.
From the work we’re doing within workplace cultures we’re finding that people are particularly suffering from three main things right now; a lack of confidence (obviously magnified for those who’ve been furloughed or made redundant), a negative mindset and an inability to see their way through an uncertain future.
A lack of confidence (or imposter syndrome!) is actually the madness of our internal voices convincing us that the facts of our lives don’t exist. It’s an absolute denial of achievement, strengths and other people’s positive opinion of us. Here are a couple of really powerful exercises to combat this madness.
- Write down all of the biggest things you’ve achieved in your life. Stare at them and recognise that it was YOU that achieved them
- Think about all the people that you rate who also rate you. Write down a list of words that they would use to describe you. Stare at these words until you recognise that it is YOU they’re talking about.
It sounds simple but it’s really effective as these actual facts are much much more compelling than the imagined fear that everyone around is really secretly ready and plotting to expose you (to who, by the way… The Sun??) for years of utter bare-faced manipulation of everyone you’ve ever worked with.
Staying positive is a challenge right now when the world seems to be falling apart and is being run by gimps. However, once again let’s remember that these feelings are simply a manifestation of the thoughts whirling around your head, which, let’s remember, you are controlling. The trick with positive thinking is to remember you can choose it. Once again, this isn’t always easy when things feel bleak but we all have a choice as to whether to live in CAUSE or EFFECT and here we can simply choose to stay in cause.
When things are a bit rubbish, being in effect means staying in the loop of
It’s not fair. It’s not my fault.
How did this happen?”
All understandable and normal, but after a while this loop becomes exhausting and pretty helpless.
Being in cause means asking yourself quite simply:
What did I do to create this?
What can I learn?
What choices are available to me?
Ultimately, you have a choice; stay stuck in negativity or take responsibility for your part, choose to learn and keep moving forward.
There are other ways to ensure your mindset is positive and that’s linked to other factors around managing your energy levels (hydration, nutrition, sleep and exercise all key here) and ensuring you’re avoiding those ‘mood-hoovers’ in your life (people who tend to exist mostly in a state of effect) and instead choosing to spend time with people who boost your energy!
I am a huge believer in the power of visualisation. It has proved itself invaluable to me so many times in my life. There is science around how it works that I won’t go into today but let’s just consider that visualisation is like programming your mind like a satnav… if you put in the right co-ordinates it will take you there.
Ways to visualise include mental preparation (elite athletes do this brilliantly… visualise themselves crossing the finish line first over and over before the race) making vision boards, and setting clear outcomes. I could write an entire blog on each one of these but suffice to say keep them realistic (no point me visualising that I’m gonna turn into Kate Moss by next year!) involve as many senses as you can (sound, sight, feeling especially) and keep focused on the end point without worrying too much about the ‘how’.
Sadly there’s no silver bullet when it comes to managing these crazy ups and downs but if you put into practice some of these ideas, I promise it will make a difference. In recent weeks I have heard from people thanking me for sharing this stuff, having rekindled relationships or got their perfect job. I know we’re all time poor but at the very least, when you brush your teeth every morning take a second to consider choosing your mood, staying in cause and visualising how you want to feel when you are next brushing your teeth at the end of the day.