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Building emotional immunity during this pandemic is compulsory

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Arouba Kabir, Mental Health Counsellor & Founder, Enso Wellness shares the importance of mental well-being, its impact on our overall existence and the people that we are surrounded with

Amidst this prevailing uncertainty, it is easy to lose ourselves with the external bombardment of news updates about celebrities dying, a community being ostracised miles away, migrant labourers’ apathy or natural calamities. Or, one can lose themselves to another whirlpool of internal problems faced at home with members of a family staying together under one roof. Or, one can be bothered by the constant chatter that goes on because of all the problems listed above. Just like we equip our physical body with the required immunity for the tough times, we must remember to make our minds immune too. It is important to pay attention to what goes on inside the mind. So often we find ourselves consuming all kinds of information to keep ourselves updated and safe, that we forget how our mind and body is coping with the new information.

It’s an established fact that the mind does not know the difference between an incident happening in real life and the thought of that incident. For example, I might have a thought 10 times a day about how the world will end or how I will forever be alone or that me or my family members will catch the virus. In reality, these are just thoughts, but the mind confuses these thoughts to be real and tends to go in a downward spiral. This is where the importance of emotional immunity comes to play, our mind needs it to cope with potential and on-going viruses that come in the form of fear. In these times the fear may come in the form of certain information, uncomfortable thoughts or emotions.

There are tools we all can cultivate and use at any given time. These will help boost and maintain emotional immunity in the present moment and overtime. By using these tools, we can take our well-being into our hands and, meet the present moment, and feel safe in it.

Tools for establishing emotional immunity

  • Prevention is better than cure. Yes, this holds true even for our mental health. We must make it a point to keep our emotional well-being in mind before tending to the world’s worries. After all, if we are healthy, we can keep others happy and safe.
  • Coming back to the Now. Conscious effort should be made to un-trap ourselves from the mind’s movie. How do we do that? The most magical tool at your disposal which will allow you to acknowledge the present moment is your breath. And with that awareness we engage in things that are present around us.
  • Get in touch with your body. It is always a healthy practice to be aware of our physical existence. The proof of our physical existence is our body. Oiling your hair, giving yourself a massage, enjoying your bath time or simply caressing your body for a few seconds has the power to calm the nervous system.
  • Cooking, dance and music, drawing / painting / creating. Touch fresh fruits and vegetables; observe the beautiful texture, colour and shape. Play your favourite music and move where your body takes you, without judgment. There are guided blind drawing sessions available online that can help you stay grounded. By doing this, you remind yourself that there is another reality that is right in front of you, that you have access to, at any time.
  • Searching for good news. It is our duty to take care and regulate our system and hence we can make it a point to actively search for positive things happening around the world.
  • Connecting. Accepting the comfort and intimacy of a friend, family member or spouse is a great way to be kind to yourself.
  • Reminders. It is not only important to do these activities, but to also remind yourself that you are taking the required steps to build immunity. This reminder will allow you to build trust in yourself and in the process of building emotional immunity so that you can fall back on them.

It is also important to note down a few markers that signify depletion of emotional immunity-

  • Negative self-talk- often we confuse the society’s voice to be our own internal voice. It is very important to monitor the nature of self-talk, it’s important that we don’t indulge in mindless chatter and try to harbour positive thoughts. 
  • Over-eating or under-eating, over-sleeping or unsound sleep- Our bodies need food in right amounts. We should be sure to check if we’re eating to kill the hunger or we’re eating to kill the void. Unsound sleep can hamper our mood and overall health. Over-sleeping could be a symptom of a much larger problem.
  • Not giving yourself credit- Acknowledging all the actions that you undertake in order to maintain emotional immunity is important. Your mind needs to actively remember that you are taking the required steps. We often forget to give ourselves the credit.
  • Holding grudges- If we have stuck up emotions about something or someone, it’s time we release them. A grudge is a sign of unnecessary blockage of energy in our system. We must try to seek professional help if we haven’t been able to recover from a particular incident of person.

Now with the lockdown slowly being lifted and things getting on track once again, we need to realise that we can’t forever stay confined in our homes. A smart way to deal with it, is to accept the circumstances, equip ourselves with the help of these simple measures and continue the stride. 

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