News • 29 Apr 2020

Minding your mind during COVID-19

Minding your mind during COVID-19

It’s a challenge keeping physically healthy during these tough times, but staying mentally strong can be even more difficult. Observing, acknowledging and taking control of our emotions is a powerful step in creating an active mental balance and overall calmness. 

Developing an emotional intelligence about our own emotions—and of those close to us—is a skill that must be learnt over time.

If our emotions are getting the better of us, especially during these times of high stress and pressure, then overcoming our negative emotions will help create a better understanding of the situation—giving a sense of control and a rationale to your actions.

We’ve outlined some steps you can take in order to react, learn and adapt to your emotions.

Identify and accept your feelings

When you’re emotionally distressed, allow yourself to become aware of what and how you’re feeling.

Despite how uncomfortable it might make you feel, it helps put your emotional state into perspective, which is the first step in easing the response.

Acknowledging your emotions is the next step as it helps diffuse the negative energy.

Learning to work with, not against, your emotions builds resilience, which is why voicing your acknowledge aloud to yourself or someone you feel comfortable being around is important.

Observe your reaction

Do you become physical when you feel angry, anxious or stressed? Do you close yourself off from others?

Notice your physical reactions when negative emotions overwhelm you. Common symptoms are tensed muscles, profuse sweating, odd sensations, urges and feelings.

Consciously recognising your reactions and resulting urges helps you decide how to act and ultimately defuse them.

Take control of the emotion

Emotions—particularly negative ones—can have incredible influence over our mental and physical state.

It’s important you take control of how you’re feeling. Take a moment for yourself, breathe deep, go for a walk or practice mindfulness.

The actions we take from being influenced by our emotions must be normalised. This is the process of how the brain makes sense of sudden mental incidents and forms it into a language or reaction the body is used to.

Find the emotional contagion

Emotional contagion is, as the name suggests, the process of catching someone else’s emotions.

There is both the carrier and recipient of strong emotional responses, depending on your personality.

Those in positions of power or authority are typically the carrier—people look for guidance and support in carriers. For example, passengers on a flight (recipients) look to flight attendants (carriers) for a sense of calm and direction during turbulence.

For you to properly manage the contagion, you must identify if you are a carrier or recipient and understand the emotional power that comes with that role with the people around you.

Practice empathy

Everyone is going through tough times now. Despite your current situation or how you’re feeling, showing empathy to your friends, family, co-workers or strangers builds emotional perseverance for both parties.

Listen to others, engage in kind acts of service, offer help, express your gratitude. These are all simple ways we can express empathy and look out for one another.

Remember: imagine yourself in someone else’s situation that might be more dire than your own and react to it how you would like to be reacted to.

Being kind, considerate, aware and connected during COVID-19 will help regulate everyone’s emotions to ensure we get through this together.

To stay up-to-date on COVID-19 (coronavirus) and Open Minds, visit our health alert page. This page will be continually updated as new information becomes available.