As we are all now passing through a second global wave of COVID I felt like sharing some thoughts with you about the situation from a Counsellor perspective. This current situation is a massive shake-up of the ways we used to live, and we used to work, pushing many of us to make choices in the face of the unknown and is challenging us to band together.
Looking at our human make-up, this is easier said than done because and I would like to address two core questions in this regard:
1. Why do we feel stressed when facing uncertainty?
We feel stressed because the human brain is unfortunately not hardwired to deal with uncertainty. Our brain is has evolved to make predictions so that we can escape from dangerous situations. Therefore, having to deal with unpredictable situations is much more stressful than having to deal with bad news.
“The same part of our human brain that is coordinating our actions in stressful situations, is also responsible for our anxieties”
2. How can we come to terms with stress and anxiety?
To manage stress and anxiety you need firstly to understand what is going on. The same part of our human brain that is coordinating our actions in stressful situations, is also responsible for our anxieties. This functional section of your brain has stored all your past interactions with significant others and with the world around you. Your reaction in times of crisis depends a lot on how you are wired and how you interpret your past experiences and your assumptions you made as a result.
To manage your stress effectively it is especially important for you to understand this, because the way you instantly respond in stressful situations is happening on automatic pilot. In other words, the way you manage your problem in times of crisis mirrors the way you automatically think, feel and act. Because this is kicking in automatically, you are not necessarily conscious about it. How can you control something that you are not conscious of? By learning to switch your automatic pilot off, learning step-by-step to become the pilot of your life. When circumstances of your life seem to be out of your control, the first helpful thing you can do is shift your focus from things that are not in your control and start taking stock of all the things that are in your control and keep your moment-by-moment focus on these. This will give you the inner space to explore your alternatives and possibilities. Is there anything that needs updating? Is there anything that has outlived its usefulness, but you are still clinging on it? It is not the hight of the mountain, but the pebbles in the shoe that becomes too painful to carry on.
Let us know if you want to explore more. We are here to support you.