In these trying times, it is easy to lose sight of what is important and our minds can quickly drift from positivity to negativity. The old saying of “mind over matter” is great in theory but doesn’t happen overnight. COVID has created an environment of uncertainty within our families and at school but I know that we as a community can overcome it through positivity and togetherness. I want to share a few mental skills that can help build a stronger and fortified foundation for having a positive mindset.
Set short term and long term goals. The important thing is to define your objective and clarify what it will take to get there. Goal setting can increase your drive, your effort, and your will to strive and succeed.
This is also known as visualization and is the process of using all of your senses to help with learning and developing new skills and strategies as well as visualizing success. See yourself accomplishing your goals so vividly it feels real.
Thoughts determine feelings, then feelings influence performance. Learn to think more positively about yourself. Monitor what you tell yourself because this is one of the most important things in life. Understanding that this choice is yours alone is very empowering. Try to recognize a negative thought and turn it into a positive one. For example, instead of saying, “I am no good at this”, try to say, “I missed it this time, let's try again”. As you learn to recognize your negative thoughts and start changing them you are exercising your mental muscles.
To perform our best we need to breathe deeply and rhythmically. Proper breathing helps with stress, anxiety, and helps bring us back to the present. Take time to check in with your breathing throughout the day. Here are some simple steps for deep breathing:
Breath in through the nose for a count to 4.
Hold for 2 seconds
Breath out of your mouth for a count of 4
Extraneous thoughts fog up your focus, your mind becomes more powerful when it becomes quieter and clearer.
Last but not least, Humor is the best medicine. A good laugh can reduce stress, boost performance, and improve mood. Find time to laugh with your friends and family, this can be done in-person or remotely.
In Closing, many of the conversations around safety and health during the COVID-19 pandemic have been around virus mitigation. The reality is that it is affecting all of us much more deeply, especially students and families. I am hoping that these strategies can help improve our emotional well being so we can still live happy lives and gain success.