Goettingen. The corona pandemic is shaping our lives – for over a year now. Nobody knows exactly how long this will take. How can we experience the next few months strengthened? Resilience expert Sebastian Mauritz actively talked about this – and asked him for helpful tips.
It is often difficult for us to stay calm. How do you do it, what do you do for it?
I’m probably doing what many other people discovered for themselves during lockdown: I go for walks regularly, at least ten minutes – this can easily turn into half an hour. And I meditate twice a day, morning and evening.
Not everyone knows how to do this.
This is not rocket science: It can help to consciously sit down for five minutes, not to be distracted by the cell phone, radio or other things – and just watch your breath. That also helps us to become more resilient.
“We can make ourselves stronger!”
Resilience: what exactly is it?
In simple terms, resilience is our mental health when faced with problems, stress and crises. That has now been well researched: Resilience research examines our mental resilience when we are exposed to adversity, so-called stressors. Finding: Those who are resilient remain calm, relaxed and flexible longer.
And how do I know if I’m resilient – or not?
Most of the time you notice the lack of resilience more when things are not going well. In difficult times you can feel that your own vulnerability, i.e. vulnerability, increases and your own strength decreases. In any case, it is a warning signal when one shows physical reactions to the stress. This includes, for example, increased sweating, but also when you fall asleep more difficult or startle at night. Many probably also notice that they are less able to control their anger, that they “go to the ceiling” more often, that they are already totally annoyed by harmless things. With such warning signals one should counteract.
What helpful tips can you give for this?
Resilience, this spiritual strength, can be learned and a lot can be done for it. Good habits are important! Because the brain likes structure, the brain likes good habits. And you can train yourself. So: take a very specific look at where I can establish good rituals for myself. After work, this can be a walk. And the morning coffee talk with colleagues is also possible via teams or zoom.
“We have already mastered a lot in life – it helps when we understand that.”
So is digital communication a good substitute for a lack of personal contact?
Yes. Talking digitally is better than staying still! Exchanging ideas, laughing with one another or sharing worries is good for us. In psychotherapy there is also the realization that “the brain heals in contact”. We could only survive for millennia if we lived and worked in groups. The emphasis on the individual is an invention of modernity, and this isolation is actually something that also stresses us out. There is currently a lot of talk about “social distancing”. I think we should rather speak of “spacial distancing” – that is, spatial distance, but still social proximity. I can be close to my family or friends from afar.
Corona, vaccinations, mutations run on all channels. That stresses us too, doesn’t it?
Yes. So I only look at the news once a day. You don’t have to be constantly informed about everything. Unfortunately, our brains tend to cling to negative things. But right now it is better to concentrate on positive things.
What can help us?
For example, two questions that you ask yourself every day: What is going well for me? What shouldn’t change after Corona? The answers are written down, this helps to suppress negative news for a while. And looking back can also help, thinking back to other crises that we have survived: It is encouraging when we remember what we have already mastered in life.
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