Developing a New Normal Moving Forward

Coronavirus has pushed a Country-wide reset button and has created the opportunity for the creation of a “new” more satisfying normal, despite its negative impact. We now have an excellent opportunity to look within ourselves, discover our innate inner wisdom on how we would prefer to live and make changes for a more compelling life.

The following are five suggestions to consider implementing and continuing after the Virus crisis is behind us.

(1) Practice Mindfulness to Create Wellness, Positive Energy, and Increased Productivity.

Before, when our busy lives created high stress, there was little time to pause, breathe, and reflect on what was important in the Now. When we are so busy doing “stuff,” living loses meaning. A friend once shared with me that he wanted to watch the sunset with his small son, but he had emails to read. Emails will always be demanding our attention. Our children do not stay small for long.  Which of the two are more meaningful?

Now, things are quiet. Mindfulness reduces stress, anxiety, and fear, allowing the body to relax and energizes the mind by being focused on what is happening this moment, not thinking about the past or concerned about the future. Our immune system responds by becoming more robust, and our bodies healthier.

One Mindfulness tool to increase productivity and reduce distractions is Chunk!  Chunking is setting aside time to complete one task.  For example, schedule 30 minutes on your calendar to check emails once at 9 am and a second time at 5 pm daily.  During those times, you would concentrate solely on emails.  Chunking works for anything you want to do, from exercising to executing a program. Chunk time can vary based on how long you believe a task will take or the time you wish to devote to it.

(2)  We Can’t Control Everything.

Yes, the Virus is scary, but we cannot personally eradicate it from the Country. We can, however, do things we can control.  WHO suggests we limit checking the news to once or twice a day. Practice social distancing, etc. Being mindful (there’s that word again!) of what is essential at the moment.

When back to Normal as possible lives, instead of worrying over things, we have no control over, focus on what you can influence.

Practicing Mindfulness can take many forms.   Since there are many books and articles on this topic, and I am always looking for new ideas, I just ordered “Zen as F*ck: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sh*t” by Monica Sweeney. I chose this one because there were over 3,000 ratings. I figured a lot of folks liked it, and I would check it out.

(3)  What Have You Put Off That You Can Do Now To Improve Your Experience?

There are many paths of thinking to answer that question. Today, I am focusing on learning new skills, acquiring wisdom, and immersing yourself in things that bring you joy.

Research indicates that adult cell phone users spent 3.5 hours each day on the mobile Internet in 2019 (1,277.5 hours). They estimate it will be over 4 hours in 2021 (1,450+ hours).  On the other hand, ten thousand hours spent on developing a skill will make you an expert.

Would it make sense to reduce those hours spent on the phone and redirect it to learning a subject that interests you or reading a book or taking a walk or (you decide)?

Another path would be to take a digital detox from social media. I have done that in the past, and it is rejuvenating. Recently, I have begun to stand outside at night and hear silence—such an incredible sound.

What would bring you peace, joy, or satisfaction?

(4)  Take Time To Remember Who You Are And What Makes You Happy.

During this time, we have a fantastic opportunity to take the time to know ourselves again.

When we are overwhelmed with work, commitments, and social media, we forget who we are. We can feel lost and dissatisfied.  With the economy at a momentary standstill, we can take this time to reacquaint ourselves with who we are, make changes to be happier, and create a “New Normal” going forward.

There are many paths to understanding why you do what you do. Insights lead to strategies to change habits or live and work differently.  Meditation, self-reflection, and journaling are some ways to become more self-aware.  Another way is taking on-line assessments proven through the years as to their efficacy and validity.

One assessment is the Keirsey Assessment I recommend, which helps people to gain insights about their personality and how they interact with others. A link to this assessment is

https://www.16personalities.com/

My clients have had significant insights using this tool on why they react in situations and which have led to making changes, some very small, that carry a remarkable impact on their interaction with others.

Lastly,

(5)  We Always Have A Choice.

In every moment, we have a choice to be fearful or joyful, anxious or peaceful.  Instead of reacting in situations, chose to respond. Pause, breathe deeply, and then consider, would you rather be at peace, or would you rather be anxious or fearful?

When we are anxious, angry, or stressed, our minds focus on the problem, limiting us to see only one or two solutions, neither the best answer. When calm, you will come up with more solutions you wouldn’t have when stressed.

 

Coronavirus has affected us as a Nation. We can still take charge of our lives and make choices on how we want to live our lives now and after we have moved beyond it.

Create your New Normal!

Be safe, and stay healthy.

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Stress doesn’t create sickness and it doesn’t kill.  How you react to it does. It’s the amount of pressure you put on yourself…what should be done, has to be done, or must be done, rather than what you can realistically do or want to do.

If you are feeling exhausted, anxious, and stretched beyond your capacity, your body is giving you a wake-up call you cannot afford to ignore. Over time, without ways to cope with everything on your plate, you could find yourself seriously ill. Not to mention, miserable in the present.

Even though successful people have a strong sense of what they want to achieve, they know that in order to thrive, they must incorporate at least one or two coping strategies—quick fixes that reduce stress and anxiety in the moment that promotes health, clear thinking, and peak performance.  Let’s look at one very important coping mechanism.

The Simplest Coping Strategy Ever—Breathing!

We have to breathe, right? How are you breathing right now? Taking in full, deep breaths or shallow, small breaths? When you are stressed, you breathe shallowly from the chest. This automatically tenses muscles and reduces oxygen, causing exhaustion, general anxiety, sleeplessness, and headaches. Breathing from the diaphragm relaxes muscles automatically and sends lots of oxygen to the brain to function at top performance.

There are many Yoga breathing exercises, but I have found the following works extremely well. It has lowered blood pressure in a frightened cancer patient and reduced road rage in another.

  • Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4 which expands your lungs, inhaling that much-needed oxygen to the brain.
  • Hold your breath for 7 counts, which stops the adrenaline rush.
  • Exhale for 8 counts, which rids your lungs of toxins.
  • Repeat until you feel relaxed—usually a minimum of two or three times or as many times as needed.

At first you may find your lungs do not want to inflate much. Your lungs will expand a little more each time you do this technique.  As with exercise, start out easy so you don’t hyper-ventilate.

Feel the difference!

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