For more than two months now, the pandemic has been at the forefront of our minds.
We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with figures of infected and dead people. Although everything points to the fact that we are overcoming the worst of this crisis, sometimes it is challenging to be Positive, and that negative thoughts do not dominate us.
This fact maybe even is more evident among older people as they are one of the most vulnerable groups in the face of the Covid-19.
Fear of contagion, concern for the family, bad economic prospects can build a wall of evil thoughts and worries around us that are very difficult to overcome.
But is it possible to turn it around and let positive thinking dominate fear? For answers, we talked to Gemma Sala, an expert in neuropsychology and co-author of the book Secrets of Your Brain. She explains how to manage thoughts and emotions better to be happier in the face of evidence that being positive is good for the brain’s health.
We are living in an exceptional and unprecedented situation. How does this affect our brain?
The current situation is one of great uncertainty because we have no reference, and our brain is designed to deal with a threat, such as fear caused by uncertainty, to any other stimulus. This is what in psychology we call emotional abduction.
This prioritization of fear can awaken other related emotions such as anger, worry, frustration, sadness, or anxiety.
In addition, everything that the brain categorizes as threatening is a trigger that will prevent the activity of the rest of the brain.
Thus, fear affects the prefrontal cortex part that compromises memory, decision-making, relationships, productivity, or our relationships.
Therefore, it is logical to feel fear.
Indeed. We have to understand that we are in a crisis, and we are in what in psychology we know as the ‘curve’ where we find the different emotional stages that we experience when passing a crisis, such as grief.
Starting with denial, anger, and at the lowest point, even depression. Over time, we manage to go up this curve by creating new ways of seeing things and more positive thoughts.
In the end, we always come out of crises stronger because we have learned. It is too early to know what we will learn from this crisis in which we are now, but I recommend getting it by leaning on others because it is essential to have family, friends, co-workers, etc.
How can we overcome this crisis and transform fear into a positive attitude or thought?
Each of us is mainly responsible for how we think and how we feel and not let ourselves be carried away by negative thoughts.
Therefore, we must think about how we feel: observe what impact it has on your body and emotions when you think negatively.
It would help if you looked at what you do have, not what you don’t. This is what we call metacognition, and it is essential. For example, positive psychology has shown
scientifically that writing down three things you’re grateful for every day contributes to emotional well-being. We must educate our brains to focus on what is positive in our lives.
Is it possible, therefore, to train the mind to be more positive?
Absolutely, yes. We believe that we have no freedom to intervene in what we feel, and nothing is further from reality.
We can train the mind to generate more positive thoughts, leading us to more positive emotions. Positive psychology states that we should have a response ratio of five positive reviews to one negative one.
If we look at our thoughts (experts say we have about 60,000 a day), we see that we are often the ones who are most critical of ourselves.
As I mentioned earlier, I encourage people to think how they think and to intervene in that part of the mind. It is possible to distance yourself from yourself: see how you are feeling and decide how you want to continue thinking. In short, thinking is not innocent, as we believe we are going to choose.
Read this post too HERE.