Here are some tips on how we can adapt to our new normal:
1. Acknowledge the emotions you’re feeling. Our brain is constantly sending messages to the rest of our body, and when our brain detects something is wrong, it sends a message that might show up physically as stress or anxiety. Check out this simple, calming practice from psychologist, Christopher Willard that you can use when you are feeling flooded with strong emotions, setting off our limbic alarm system: “When we relax our body zone by zone,” Willard writes, “it becomes physiologically almost impossible to also be stressed, anxious, angry, or otherwise overwhelmed with difficult emotions.”
2. Make space for moments of joy and gratitude. With all that’s going on in the world, and even what’s going on in your life, the advice of finding joy in the small things might seem infuriatingly simplistic. But research has linked gratitude with a wide range of benefits, including strengthening your immune system and improving sleep patterns, feeling optimistic and experiencing more joy and pleasure, being more generous, and feeling less lonely. As we all embark on a journey to a new normal, finding moments of joy can make the journey a little easier. Try this 10-minute practice from Mindful Communications cofounder Nate Klemp to shift your brain toward gratitude.
3. Strengthen your connection to your community. Despite the fact that we are all going through a pandemic, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone. Psychologist and mindfulness teacher Elaine Smookler writes, “Letting go of our expectation of how community is supposed to be there for us allows us to rest more easily in the ocean of love and support that might come from unexpected directions: the pharmacist, colleagues, people who haven’t been in touch for years, a fellow traveler on the street.” Smookler offers this nurturing practice to reimagine a challenging relationship with someone, opening the flow of connection between yourself and others.