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Self Help

How To Cope With Never-ending Bad News

Bad news and negativity on social media is almost inescapable. As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year and newer, faster-spreading variants emerge, stories about surges in infections and deaths, announcements about renewed lockdowns, and posts about vaccine anxiety are dominating our newsfeeds.

Add into this mix the stressors carried over from last year (i.e. financial stress, isolation, and fear) and it’s no wonder that people are experiencing more mental health challenges than ever.

“Self-care is self-preservation.”

Kevin Quibranza, life coach

What should we do when we feel as if we can’t take it anymore? This is where self-care comes in. And while it may initially feel ludicrous to think of taking a break when there are so many problems that need to be fixed, we are actually duty-bound to take care of ourselves. “Self-care is self-preservation,” says Kevin Quibranza, life coach and MindNation People and Operations Head. “Everything in our lives — our goals, financial security, relationships with others — are dependent on our level of health, and self-care acts ensure that we stay healthy enough to achieve positive outcomes in all of them.” If we fail to take care of ourselves and get sick — whether physically or mentally — then we risk financial uncertainties, damaged relationships, and even our lives.

With this in mind, here are some things you can do to take care of your well-being when it all seems too much to bear:

Don’t forget the self-care basics. Prioritize sleep, eat mindfully, exercise, and stay in touch with loved ones. These promote not just mental health but also our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, enabling us to feel less stressed and more resilient in anxiety-ridden times like these.

Reduce social media use. While social media is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends as well as stay informed about the latest news, studies have shown that excessive use can fuel feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation. And if your newsfeed is becoming an obituary these days, it’s time to modify your habits so that you improve your mood. “You may not have control over the things you see on social media, but you are in control of the amount of time you expose yourself to it,” Kevin points out.

Some things you can do:

1. Use anti-distraction software. “I will only check social media for one hour each day” is easier said than done because social networks were deliberately designed to be as addictive as possible by some of the smartest people in the world. The solution — use tools that enforce discipline. Focus apps like Forest, Focus To-Do, and Pomodoro Timer can block the websites or apps that you want for an amount of time that you set, and can be a bit cumbersome to disable so you think twice about “cheating.”

2. Adjust who you are following. You don’t need to follow every news outlet or every famous journalist — limit it to just two or three so you are not bombarded with the same bad news in a short period of time. And if you have friends or relatives who regularly post fake news or propaganda that raises your hackles — that’s what the “Unfollow” function is for.

3. Institute a social media free day each week. Pick one day a week to go without your phone or social media, and it will go a long way to giving your mind the space it needs to slow down and rest.

Give yourself permission to express and feel your emotions. Apart from fear and anxiety, guilt and shame are two other emotions experienced by many during this pandemic. It is frequently felt by those who look at the infection and death tolls and wonder how they were spared, as well as by those who recovered after being infected. And while these feelings are normal, they can lead to longer-term mental health issues if left unresolved. If you are feeling survivor’s guilt, try to manage them by doing the following:

4. Practice being kind to yourself. Instead of asking “Why me?” try “Why not me?”

Meditate, breathe, journal. These mindfulness activities can provide a much-needed break from the barrage of bad news that tends to worsen your guilt.

Use compassionate self-talk. Accept that what you are feeling is part of being human.

Drop some responsibilities. Stress is caused by an imbalance in the different aspects of your life (i.e. work, relationships, “me” time) so analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. “If your body and your mind are both telling you that you need a break – listen to it. Stop what you are doing and indulge in activities that can boost your happiness or gratitude,” Kevin says.

5. Find ways to help others. Studies have shown that happiness and life satisfaction increases when we volunteer or help others,” shares Kevin. “It might seem hard to do while maintaining social distancing, but simple acts like talking to and empathizing with friends who are in need or helping your family with chores at home can really change your perspective.”

6. Talk to a mental health professional. You don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you feel pain or discomfort in your physical body, so neither should you delay talking to a psychologist or WellBeing Coach if you are feeling stressed, empty, alone, afraid, or overwhelmed. And even if you are not struggling, there’s no harm in checking-in with an expert. At the end of the day, we all benefit from knowing that someone will always be there to listen.

MindNation offers 24/7 online sessions with licensed psychologists and WellBeing Coaches in the Philippines and (for a limited time) in the Middle East and North Africa. Book your slot now through http://m.me./themindnation or email [email protected].

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Featured

Build better boundaries: 6 ways you can protect your personal self and make sure you are treated the way you deserve

Boundaries are basic guidelines that people create to establish how others should behave around them, including what actions are okay, what are not, and how to respond if someone breaches those limitations. Whether you are interacting with a work colleague or a romantic partner, boundaries ensure that the relationship progresses smoothly and safely. 

However, there will always be instances when you encounter people who will make you feel that your boundaries are being violated. It may be a stranger who stands too close to you or touches you (physical boundary). Or a family member who constantly pressures you to do favors for them (emotional boundary). Perhaps you experience bullying at school or in the workplace (mental boundary). These disregard for your boundaries can leave you feeling confused, anxious, drained, and stressed. It is therefore important to know how to firmly establish healthy boundaries in every relationship so that you will feel respected, safe, and valued. We asked Ria Tirazona, RPsy, of Psych Consult Inc (https://www.psychconsult.com.ph) to suggest ways you can build better boundaries and maintain them:

  1. Know yourself. “When setting boundaries, it’s important to know what you’re capable of,” Ria says. “How far can you go without losing your sense of self or being connected to what’s important to you?” This means taking the time to identify your physical, emotional, and mental thresholds. What actions can you tolerate? What makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed? “

Also note that while some thresholds need to be clearly defined (i.e. those that align with your core values and beliefs), Ria assures that boundaries are allowed to be fluid in other circumstances. “It may depend on your capacity at the moment, the resources that you have, or how much you’ve evolved since you’ve set that first boundary.” For example, you may have made it a policy not to ‘friend’ co-workers on social media when you are new to the company; but once time passes and you develop a better relationship with them, it’s okay to deviate from your original limit. So don’t forget to take these conditions into consideration whenever you do your self-reflection. 

  1. Communicate honestly, openly, and mindfully with others. When someone does something that makes you uncomfortable, let them know right away, using mindful communication whenever possible. Ria suggests using “I” statements, such as “I feel __ when you do ____.” “This way, you are responding and not reacting to the emotions that you feel when your boundaries are pushed,” she explains. Doing this does not put the other party on the defensive, and will hopefully lead to a conversation on what both of you can do to create a healthier boundary. 

If all attempts at communication fail, a simple but firm “No” is always an option anytime someone does something to you that you don’t like. Do not feel that you need to explain. You have the right to determine what you want others to do or not do to you. If you are being abused or harassed, report the incident right away to the relevant authorities. 

  1. Make your boundaries known from the very start. “This can be especially difficult to do when you are in the honeymoon stage of a romantic relationship, or when you are new to a workplace and want to fit in,” Ria points out. “But if we don’t communicate our boundaries right away, it sets the stage for miscommunication down the line and before we know it, it snowballs into disharmony, loss of personal identity, or — in the case of personal relationships — codependency or enmeshment.” 
  1. Don’t be concerned with what others will think. Remember that you are not responsible for the other person’s response. Know that if you break your own boundaries because you are scared of the other person’s reaction (especially that of a romantic partner), that is a HUGE red flag and deserves another topic of discussion altogether. In a healthy relationship, you should never feel afraid of the reactions of the other person.
  1. “Train” people to behave in the way you want them to treat you. “If you are always saying ‘yes,’ you are letting others know they have permission to walk all over you,” Ria points out. In the same way, don’t text people about work matters late at night if you don’t want the same to be done to you. “When you respect and reinforce other people’s boundaries, it will be easier for you to respect and reinforce your own,” Ria adds.
  1. Be patient. Establishing boundaries (and communicating these to others) takes time. In the same way that we don’t develop unhealthy boundaries overnight, we don’t develop healthy ones right away either. “Make sure to practice self-care,” Ria advises. “If you are rested, your thinking mind is clear and you can communicate better.” Also, building better boundaries is a process that requires a willingness to learn and grow. “Inform yourself about mindful communication and building better relationships,” Ria says. “Finally, be creative and curious about the world around you, because those will contribute to the flexibility and openness that you will need to adjust your boundaries when circumstances call for it.” 

“Any relationship benefits from healthy boundaries,” Ria says. Good boundaries not only show emotional health and self-respect, they also ensure that the relationships we are in are mutually respectful, supportive, and caring.”

Written by Jac of MindNation

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Featured Get Inspired Mental Health 101

4 Psychological Benefits of Family Meals

Family mealtimes are not just for rest and sustenance; research has shown that when families eat together, the members reap gains that go beyond better physical health.

Below are 4 research-backed reasons why eating together as a family can contribute to improved mental and emotional well-being:

1. Children tend to be happier.

Because eating together improves parent-child relationships, children feel more stable, secure, and are less inclined to engage in risky behavior like suicide and unsafe sex practices. They are also less likely to have mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. The same is true for adults — studies show that mothers who ate with their families often were also found to be happier and less stressed compared to mothers who did not.

2. It’s easier for parents to monitor and protect the kids from bullying.

Bullying and cyber-bullying have become ever present threats to school-going children. Although parents can do little to avoid bullying from ever occurring, conversing over meals can help them find out if their child is being bullied and help him respond to the situation.

3. Children do better academically.

Scientists have found that when parents converse with their children during mealtimes, the child will have a better vocabulary than children whose parents don’t have a sit down meal with them. Children also seem to score academically better on an average when they eat regularly with the parents – possibly since mealtimes are a great opportunity for parents to discuss projects, identify weak spots, and encourage strengths in the child’s academic progress

4. Better parent-child relationships.

Parents and children who eat regular family dinners seem to share a better relationship. They are more honest and open with each other, and the parents are more likely to know what is happening in the child’s life. Studies also show that children from families who eat together regularly felt that they could share their problem with their parents and turn to them for advice and support. On the other hand, teens from families that did not eat together regularly were more likely to feel isolated from their parents.

When eating together:

  • Focus on enjoying each other’s company, not on what or how much each child is eating.
  • Keep conversations positive. Encourage children to talk about their day. This helps to develop more communication between family members.
  • Schedule difficult or disciplinary conversations for some time other than meals.
  • Turn off distractions like the TV, computer, tablets and phones during mealtimes. Keep toys and books off the table.

Family mealtimes provide parents and children a great opportunity to socialize, relax, and improve their mental health. If conflicting schedules do not allow for everyone to be together in the evening, then schedule family meals at breakfast or lunch; just pick a time when everyone can be together in a relaxed setting, and do it regularly.

We can all help prevent suicide. If you or a loved one is in distress, MindNation connects individuals with counselors for emotional support and other services via web chat, 24/7, anytime, anywhere. The service is completely confidential and the staff is trained to help you ease your anxieties. Start chatting here: http://m.me/themindnation

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Featured Mental Health 101 Self Help Suicide Prevention

9 Things to Do When You are Feeling Hopeless

Someone who feels hopeless believes that nothing good can happen, that a happy ending is impossible. Whether it’s because you lost your job because of the pandemic and are having difficulty finding another one, or you ended a romantic relationship and feel that you will never find love again, you can say that you’re feeling hopeless.

It’s normal to feel dejected from time to time after encountering failure. But if your hopelessness starts to make you isolate yourself from friends and loved ones, interferes with your daily routine, discourages you from trying anything new, or, worse, makes you feel that you have nothing left to live for, you may be in danger of lapsing into depression or suicidal thoughts. Below are some ways you can rise up from the hopeless feeling:

1. Always remember that nothing lasts forever — including failure.

When it feels as if nothing can go right, respond to the situation with positive and constructive actions so you can break out of the negative thoughts and things can get better. Think “Will this even matter in one year?” If the answer is “no,” then you know that the situation is not as dire as you initially thought. Distract yourself from your hopelessness by actively engaging in other areas of your life. Let time pass and resist the temptation to overreact and aggravate the problem.

2. Recall how you overcame similar struggles in the past.

When going through a challenging time, think about or list down all the occasions in your life when you overcame hurdles and rose above difficulties. Doing this will help you find renewed faith in yourself and in your ability to cope.

3. Look at the bigger picture.

Your problems are merely a small part of everything else that’s going on in your lives, so you should not let the worries, fear, and anxiety overtake your mind. And, even if every area of your life — i.e. Health, relationship, work, money — seems to be filled with problems, the fact that you are alive means there is still hope for things to turn around.

4. Practice gratitude.

Don’t get caught up with the things that are not working out in your lives and forget the good.

5. Try something new.

Many times you feel hopeless because you think you have already “tried everything” to no avail. But have you really tried everything? Maybe you only tried 10 other ways of doing something; there are lots more out there that you have yet to consider. Another option is to try a new way of thinking about the situation; let go of the mindset and behavior that has not worked for you, and do the things you don’t want to do but could be good for you.

6. Live in the present.

Hope and hopelessness are both about the future; when you practice mindfulness, then neither have any hold on you. Learn to be present in your own way, through meditation, exercise, or taking a walk in nature.

7. Ask for help.

Hopelessness is often just a reminder that you can’t do it all by yourself. Many situations that feel or truly are hopeless suddenly become doable when other people get involved. Ask your loved ones for help or a different perspective; or join an online support group.

8. Remember that success takes time (and many steps).

You won’t get six-pack abs after only two sessions at the gym; you will need to exercise for far longer than that, work with a trainer, and change your diet. The same goes for doing other difficult tasks; you will need to do things for some time before you see significant results. Don’t expect too much too soon because that will only set you up to feel dejected and disappointed.

9. Seek therapy.

This is especially important when your hopelessness is affecting your ability to work, appreciating things you’ve always appreciated, or spending time with loved ones. These are indications that your hopelessness is a sign of depression.

Remember that hopelessness is only a feeling, not your reality. It isn’t a sign that you need to give up; rather, it simply means that you need to assess your current way of doing things so you can figure out what you need to improve on and what you need to stop doing. Once you become aware of the alternatives (and there are always better options out there), you can rise from hopelessness and work on achieving your goals with renewed optimism.

We can all help prevent suicide. If you or a loved one is in distress, MindNation connects individuals with counselors for emotional support and other services via web chat, 24/7, anytime, anywhere. The service is completely confidential and the staff are trained to help you ease your anxieties. Start chatting here: http://m.me/themindnation

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Featured Self Help

Note To Self: I am Enough

Psychologists describe self-esteem as a person’s overall sense of worth or value. It is a measure of how much you appreciate and like yourself, including how you look and what you believe about yourself (“I am loved” vs. “I am worthless”).

Your self-esteem can affect whether you:

  • Like and value yourself as a person
  • Are able to make decisions and assert yourself
  • Recognize your strengths and positive traits about yourself
  • Feel and able to try new and difficult things
  • Show kindness towards yourself
  • Move on from past mistakes without blaming yourself unfairly
  • Take the time you need for yourself
  • Believe that you matter and are good enough
  • Believe that you deserve happiness
Self-esteem and Mental Health

Having low self-esteem isn’t a mental health problem in itself, but the two are closely linked. If many things affect your self-esteem for a prolonged period of time (such as being bullied or abused, losing your job, relationship problems, poor body image, etc.) then it might lead to mental health problems like depression or anxiety.

If you are starting to look down on yourself because of circumstances around you, here are some ways you can overcome that feeling and improve your self-esteem:

1. Practice self-compassion

Whenever you feel like you are not able to meet the expectations you have for yourself, please don’t beat yourself up. Learn to be gentle with yourself by learning self-forgiveness, and recognize that you are only human.

Read more about our blog post on practicing self-compassion here

2. Take care of your physical health.

Poor sleep and eating habits, lack of exercise, drinking too much alcohol, and using recreational drugs — all of these can you make you look and feel bad.

3. Spend time outdoors.

Studies have shown that spending time in nature can help with mental problems like anxiety and depression; if combined with physical activities like hiking or walking, it can make you feel good about what your body can do and turn the focus away from what your body should look like. Furthermore, because most outdoor activities involve groups of people, you also improve social interactions and gain a support group that you can turn to whenever you need a self-esteem boost.

However, with the extended lockdowns, going out may not be the best option right now. Hence, you can bring the outdoors to the indoors by cultivating a green space in your home.

4. Appreciate the good.

Always celebrate your successes and wins, no matter how small they are. Accept compliments graciously instead of acting self-deprecating. If anyone says something malicious or unkind, don’t focus on it even if it’s difficult to do most of the time.

5. Learn to say “NO.”

Set your limits and be firm. Frequently doing things that you don’t want to do to please other people can drain your energy and even crush your spirit.

6. Find a hobby that you enjoy.

Whether it’s baking or mountain biking, do it often to the point that you become quite good at it. When you learn something new or find ways to improve yourself, you will feel better.

7. Try volunteering.

Spend time helping out your favorite cause. Doing good for others and the community gives you a natural sense of accomplishment and boosts your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction.

8. Talk to someone.

If you are going through a tough time, turn to friends and family for comfort, support, or advice. If you need the assistance of a mental health professional, there are a lot of mental health organizations online that you can consult.

MINDNATION IS HERE

Do you need someone to speak to? Feel free to message our Facebook Page for 24/7 Social Conversations with friends that are available for you anytime. We’re here to listen! It’s completely free and absolutely confidential. http://facebook.com/themindnation

Written by Jacq of Mindnation

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Featured Self Help

Note To Self: Believing in Myself is Key

When you come across a challenging situation, how do you react?

Do you feel confident that you can eventually figure out a way to accomplish it?

Or do you feel intimidated and want to throw in the towel without even trying?

Your answer lies in how much self-efficacy you possess.

Self-efficacy is defined as a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. It may be a general kind (i.e. Your overall faith in yourself) or be more specific (i.e. Academic, parenting, or sports).

Self-efficacy is related to but NOT the same as the following concepts:

Self-efficacy and self-esteem.

Self-esteem is defined as a general or overall feeling of one’s worth or value. It is focused more on “being” (i.e. the feeling that you are perfectly acceptable as you are), while self-efficacy is more focused on “doing” (i.e. the feeling that you are up for a challenge).

Having high self-worth can definitely improve your sense of self-efficacy, while high self-efficacy can contribute to your overall value or worth.

Self-efficacy and self-regulation.

Self-regulation involves controlling your behavior, emotions, and thoughts on the pursuit of long-term goals. In short, it is a strategy for achieving your goals, while self-efficacy is the belief that you can accomplish those goals.

Self-efficacy and motivation

The former is based on your belief in your capacity to achieve something, while the latter is your desire to achieve it. Those with high self-efficacy often have high motivation and vice versa, though it is not always the case.

Self-efficacy and resilience.

Resilience is our capability to recover quickly from difficulties. People with a high level of efficacy are more likely to try again after encountering failure, thereby increasing their resilience.

Self-efficacy and confidence

In his book “Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control” Canadian-American psychologist and one of the world’s leading experts on self-efficacy Albert Bandura defines “confidence” as “a non-descript term that refers to strength of belief but does not necessarily specify what the certainty is about.” On the other hand, self-efficacy is more specific — it is the certainty that one can deal with any situation handed to them. Someone who is highly confident in his abilities will be more likely to succeed, thereby providing him with experiences to develop his self-efficacy. This high self-efficacy, in turn, gives him more confidence in himself.

Self-efficacy and mental health

According to Dr. Bandura, “a person’s self-efficacy influences what coping behavior he will utilize when he encounters stress and challenges, along with determining how much effort will be expended to reach one’s goals and for how long those goals will be pursued.” He adds that people with a strong sense of self-efficacy remain optimistic and confident in their abilities even when things become difficult. They treat problems as challenges rather than threats, and if they fail, they redouble their efforts and look for new ways to succeed. They also tend to be more interested in the tasks they pursue.

On the other hand, Dr. Bandura says that those who are low in self-efficacy tend to avoid difficult tasks and set goals, and have low levels of commitment to the ones they do make. When setbacks happen, they tend to give up quickly. Stressful situations become hard to deal with and they are more likely to experience feelings of failure and despondency.

How to develop self-efficacy

You can improve your sense of self-efficacy by learning how to minimize stress and elevate your mood when faced with challenging tasks. Below are some ways:

Observe others.

According to Dr. Bandura, vicarious experiences obtained through peer modelling is an important way to establish and strengthen self-efficacy. Keep company with people who have high self-efficacy so that when you see them putting in effort and succeeding, you increase your belief in your own ability to succeed as well.

Seek positive affirmations.

Hearing constructive criticism or positive feedback from others can boost your confidence in your abilities and help improve your sense of self-efficacy. In this regard, avoid asking feedback from people who you know are more likely to have a negative or critical view of your performance.

Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions.

Do you find yourself getting stressed out or nervous before a challenging event?

Do negative thoughts enter your mind when you struggle to accomplish something?

If yes, you might feel less sure of your ability to cope with the task at hand. Look for ways to ease your stress levels so that you feel more confident; also, replace negative thoughts with positive self-talk to promote self-belief

Because life is full of stressful moments and challenges, having a high level of self-efficacy can help you deal with these difficulties more effectively. Your belief in your abilities can influence your motivations, the amount of effort you will put into accomplishing your goals, and your personal sense of well-being.

Written by Jacq of Mindnation

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Featured Self Help

4 Ways to Stop Feeling Guilty

Guilt is defined as a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined. It’s okay to feel guilty if you know you really did something wrong because it will motivate you to correct your mistakes. However, if you simply think that you should feel guilty, or, worse, that you deserve to feel guilty over something that you said or did, then you are only tormenting and yourself.

Below are some ways you can avoid becoming overwhelmed by irrational guilt:

1. Let the past stay in the past

If your feeling of guilt is connected to an event that you were involved with in the past, then you should learn to accept that it has already happened and there is nothing more you can do about it. An example – you feel guilty because you survived an accident while your companions did not. Feeling bad will not change the outcome; the only way forward is to accept reality, learn from your mistakes, and move on.

2. Realize that nobody is perfect

As the saying goes, to err is human. Everyone commits wrongdoings, whether slight or significant, that he or she will regret later on. Instead of beating yourself up for being less than perfect, focus your efforts on not repeating the same mistakes in the future.

3. Practice self-compassion

We are our own worst critics, and more often than not we will not hesitate to beat ourselves over our mistakes, perceived or otherwise. One way you can be kinder to yourself is to imagine your mistakes happening to a close friend or loved one – would you want him or her to feel the same degree of guilt as you do now? If your answer is no, give yourself the same treatment you would want for that other person.

4. Express your bad feelings in writing or talking

If you are constantly plagued by shame and regret, try to journal your feelings every day so you can build awareness and pinpoint what exactly is causing those guilty feelings. Then you can find ways to deal with it. Studies show that journaling is a very helpful tool in managing your mental health as it helps you deal with overwhelming emotions, and helps you find a healthy way to express yourself. You can also consider seeking help from your loved ones or professional help. These people can give advice on how you can overcome your guilt.

Mindnation has a 24/7 Friend you can chat with for FREE by means of Facebook Messenger! Talk to our dedicated personnel by selecting “Talk to Us”. It’s free, secure, and absolutely confidential. Begin by visiting us through this link: http://m.me/themindnation

No matter the cause, living with guilt has never been good for one’s mental health. Learn to be kind to yourself by practicing self-forgiveness, letting go of your past regrets, and moving forward.

Written by Jacq of Mindnation

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Featured Get Inspired Self Help

7 Things You Can Do to Effectively Deal with Unexpected Situations

Some of the unexpected things that we encounter in life can be pleasant – surprise birthday parties, random acts of kindness from strangers, or a rainbow appearing after a downpour.

But distressing things can also occur without warning — traffic accidents, the loss of a job, or the death of a loved one.

As human beings, our instinct is to respond to these events with panic, anger, fear, or frustration. There is nothing wrong with feeling bad, but when we let these negative emotions get the best of us, we cause the executive network of our brain (which is responsible for problem solving) to constrict and work less effectively.

So instead of running around in a panic or falling into despair, we should try our best to keep ourselves calm and be patient so that our brain can come up with solutions to these problems.

Below are some ways can we control our response and channel positive emotions in the face of unexpected stress:

1. Accept that unexpected events are a part of life

As humans, we thrive on routine and predictability; but not only are the occasional mishaps unavoidable, they are inevitable. Once you begin to learn how to acknowledge this fact of life, you will find unexpected events and experiences less troubling, and you will become more receptive to deal with them when they happen. 

2. Keep calm

When faced with an unexpected twist of fate, try your best to resist the instinct to launch into a tirade or run around in a panicked state. One shift you can do to keep yourself calm is to practice mindful breathing, you can do this by first closing your eyes, then begin taking a deep breath, and followed by exhaling slowly. Do this for 10 counts. Once you noticed that you were able to slow down your heart rate, open your eyes and try your best to take on the situation with a fresh mindset. 

3. Look at it from another point of view

Maybe what happened is just a minor incident that’s not as bad as you initially thought? Maybe it’s something temporary that can be fixed in the long run? Getting fired from work could even turn out well, as you might even find a better and more satisfying job. Even if what happened is unequivocally a major disaster, like your house burning down, taking a pause will at least abate your temper or panic and help you calm down long enough to formulate a better response.

4. Don’t take it personally

When something happens, do not immediately label it as “good” or “bad”; it is your response to the situation that determines whether the event becomes positive or negative. For example, if your partner breaks up with you and you blame yourself, become despondent, or think that no one will ever love you anymore, then the break-up becomes something negative. But if you accept that it was not the right relationship for you, maintain a positive attitude, and believe that some good will come your way, then the break-up becomes a blessing in disguise. You never know what will come of a situation, so rather than assuming a situation is bad, which only generates a lot of unhelpful, negative emotions, make an effort to look ahead with optimism.

5. Focus on the solution, not on the problem

When you get hit with unexpected bad news, give yourself time to understand what you need to feel. Then pick yourself up and shift your attention to finding solutions. The moment you ask yourself what you can do to make something better, you have taken the first step in turning a bad event into a more positive outcome. You will also start to feel better because you have regained control over the events.

6.  Believe in yourself.

If you are in an unexpectedly difficult situation, think back to all the other times you encountered challenges and obstacles and ask yourself, “What did I do to get through those events?” If you lack self-confidence, ask someone who knows you well to give you a boost. When you know that you have what it takes to handle the problem, you will start to feel better. 

7. Train yourself to welcome the unexpected

Once in a while, take a different route when you go jogging. Order something else from your favorite restaurant. When deciding what to watch on Netflix, pick a genre that you have never tried before. Doing these small but trivial things will help you become more accepting of change and cope more easily with surprises and unexpected events.  

There is nothing wrong with getting flustered or upset when something unexpectedly bad happens to you. But you must find a way to rise above the stress and turmoil so that you can come up with solutions to the problem. By following the above-mentioned tips, you will feel less agitated, find composure, and be able to manage difficult situations better.

Written by Jacq of Mindnation

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Featured Self Help

3 Ways You Can Be More Present in Your Everyday Life

Do you spend most of days running around fulfilling one task or another?

Is your mind constantly buzzing with thoughts, plans, worries, predictions, stresses, or reactions?

Do you find yourself forgetting to eat, take a bath, drink water, or go to the bathroom?

If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, it may be time for you to switch off your body and mind from autopilot mode and become more present and in the moment – better known as mindfulness. If you don’t, stress will overwhelm your body, leading to more physical and psychological problems in the long-run.

Here are some things you can try whenever you need to realign your focus:

1. Practice Mindful Breathing

We breathe every day, but controlled or mindful breathing is another habit we need to cultivate because studies have shown that this will help calm our minds and shift our attention towards the present moment. One of the things you can do is to practice meditative breathing in a quiet corner which will only take a few minutes of your time. Close your eyes and take slow inhales and exhales through your nose. Count your breaths and don’t fret if your mind starts to wander, that is normal; every time you catch your thoughts drifting, just redirect it back to your breath.

2. Set aside distractions

There is nothing wrong with multitasking as it allows you to accomplish more things in a given time. However, multitasking too much and too often can wreak havoc on your mental health, and this is where our smartphones and gadgets end up causing more harm than good. You may think that checking your notifications or scrolling through your newsfeeds while you are doing something else qualifies as multitasking, but in reality, you are just being distracted. If you want to complete a task faster and with more focus, cut down on the time you spend on your phone – put it in silent mode, someplace far away from you, or turn it off completely.

3. Write it down

Making a to-do list is one of the most effective steps you can take to make your day more organized and less hectic. If you want to plan for the long-term, journaling is another great way to organize your thoughts, plans, and dreams. Instead of going through the day or your life aimlessly, at least you now have targets to achieve. 

In today’s fast-paced world, we spend most of our time doing everything automatically and without putting our mind into it. It’s time to switch off this autopilot mode and start living in the moment. 

Written by Jacq of Mindnation

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Featured Self Help

7 ways to take care of your Mental Health during the Coronavirus Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has cost millions of people their lives, jobs, and a sense of security and stability. Fear and uncertainty continue to lead to anxiety and depression for many of us. If you are one of those people whose mental well-being has taken a hit during the pandemic, below are some things you can practice to build your mental resilience, feel more optimistic, and boost your emotional wellness:

1. Focus on what you can control

Fear and negative feelings can make you replay in your mind all the ways the virus has upended your life: “No more going to the movies/concerts/malls/restaurants,” “No more gatherings with friends/family,” “Your choice, at work is either to resign or take a pay cut.” Because all these are beyond your control, thinking about them will only worsen your anxieties. So, shift your focus to parts of your life that you can manage: your daily routine, the meals you will prepare for yourself or your family, and new goals you want to achieve now that you have extra time to spare. Take this time to practice mindfulness and putting more effort into your mental well-being as well.

2. Avoid information overload

More often than not, you want to stay on top of the latest developments about the pandemic; but when you stay glued to your phone, TV, or computer, you will most likely get inundated with bad news like increasing mortality rates, overwhelmed health care workers, or other upsetting and depressing stories. To ease this toll on your mental health, studies suggest that you set boundaries by learning to limit the time you spend watching the news or reading the news on your social media feed.

3. Seek out ways to help

News might get a little negative but there are also pandemic-related news that are uplifting from people donating to the less fortunate, new businesses thriving, and other stories of generosity and compassion. Look for these human-interest bits when you scroll through your newsfeeds to minimize your anxiety and depression. Hopefully, those stories will inspire you so that you can also shine your own light and be the positivity you want to see in your community!

4. Take brain breaks and entertain yourself

Do activities that can take your mind off stress, such as rewatching your favorite sitcom on Netflix or Youtube, doing jigsaw puzzles/cross-stitch patters/paint-by-numbers, and engaging in activities that will allow you to move your body which is proven to help boost endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, all of the feel-good chemicals in your brain. They make you feel more energized and happier. Another activity you can do to cope with the Coronavirus anxiety is video chatting with friends and family. Studies show that a lack of social connection can not only hurt our mental health, but also, ultimately, our physical health. Being isolated can also result in more anxiety and depression.

MindNation has a 24/7 Friend you can chat with for FREE via Facebook Messenger, too! It’s completely confidential and they’re trained to help you ease your anxieties. Start chatting here: http://m.me/themindnation 

5. Set Goals

When there is nothing much to do, resist the temptation to fall into a state of idleness, which will only make your life seem more lost and hopeless. Challenge yourself by taking up new hobbies or projects. It can be as simple as redecorating your room, learning how to bake, learning how to play a musical instrument, or decluttering the different spaces in your house. When you have accomplished something, you will not feel as aimless.

6. Practice kindness with others

Just because you’re not a frontliner does not mean you can’t do your part in helping ease the anxiety. Cook food and share it with those whom you think are in need; donate personal protective equipment to hospitals and other frontliners; order baked goods from your neighbor who was furloughed or laid off from his/her work; get takeout from your favorite restaurant to support small business. There are many ways we can practice kindness to others. We can also do this by checking in with our friends and loved ones and ask how they’re doing. You’ll never know who needs it!

7. End every day with gratitude


Every night before going to bed, think of all that you have accomplished, learned or were blessed with during the day. Research shows that cultivating gratitude will help alleviate any negativity you might be feeling, and reminds you that not everything that’s happening right now is bad or depressing.

Doing any of the above does not mean that you should ignore the dangers of COVID-19. But if you keep a positive outlook and help those whom you can – all while practicing minimum health standards – you can reduce your stress and better manage your anxiety during these uncertain times.

Written by Jacq of Mindnation