Like many people I have been grounded for the past 3 months which means I haven’t travelled and stayed mainly at home. This has led me to spend a lot of time in front of my screen both coaching and writing but also watching way too much news and updates on the current situation. Add to this, every time I speak to people pandemic, economics and social unrest are the topics that dominate every conversation. All this exposure to the problems and negativity in the world have affected me more than I wanted to admit. I realised this when I had a conversation with someone and realised I was starting to sound like all those negative voices when I want to be a positive beacon of hope for others.
Years ago when I backpacked through Asia I had very limited exposure to the news and it had a very positive effect on me. Naturally, other factors were keeping me relaxed and positive but when returning to normal life I decided I no longer wanted to own a TV and I stopped reading newspapers. This did, in fact, contribute to a more positive state of mind. These days the news reaches us through all of our devices so it is important to be aware how much you are exposing yourself to all the bad news that a variety of sources are sending your way. The best solution I have found is to limit your exposure which turns out not to be that easy. In my three months of home office, it seems I have developed several new habits that are not good for me and before I know it, without thinking, I have clicked onto another YouTube video listening to an expert on health, economics or politics. This is exactly what I was trying to avoid.
Realising my new patterns of behaviour was a bit of a surprise since I am used to working from home but normally I have a busy schedule that forces me to manage my time effectively. So it’s time for some limits and boundaries. My approach to this is something I once learned from another coach. I create a list of what I will say yes to and what I will say no to on a daily basis. Writing these down helps me to consciously choose what I will do and what I will avoid rather than letting habit dictate my automated responses. In doing so I also make the choice when I am clear-headed rather than when I am distracted or lacking will power.
Mental health is an important thing to be aware of especially during unusual times when stress may be all around us. Check your exposure to the negative influences that are demanding your attention. If you limit the number of conversations you have about the problems at hand and reduce your exposure to the constant barrage of bad news you will feel less stressed or overwhelmed. You will be able to think about things more rationally and objectively. In doing so you will be in a better position to solve the problems you face in everyday life. Remember Einstein’s quote: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”