Like most other people in the world, I was talking about Covid-19 today. My 29-year old entrepreneurial son, a digital marketing expert, explained how he was feeling low as the stark reality of the global impact on his young business began to take hold. As a cost saving measure, rather than an isolation measure, he talked about, perhaps, ending his gym membership. His tone was sad and regretful. He explained how much he realised it had come to mean to him and how it has been the key thing to maintain his motivation and positivity when business is tough.
It seemed a good opportunity to provide a reminder of three simple actions you can take that will help to build and maintain your stock of mental wealth, and that will see you through the current crisis and beyond.
- Do Things You Love
In my experience, one of the first indicators of declining mental wealth is a decision such as this: stopping doing something (or everything!) you love. Yet it is very often the very first thing people consider when they’re anxious, worried or under pressure, as if it’s some kind of frivolous luxury that requires jettisoning when life gets serious.
Nothing could be further from the truth. This is the oxygen of life, the stuff that gets you through.
Throughout this crisis, do your best to maintain any passion, interest or activity that you love – for as long as physical health or government restrictions permit. If forced to stop, resolve to start again as soon as possible and to get creative, finding some way to replace that activity in the short term. The Spanish under lockdown have been a shining example of how you can use this creativity – playing piano to neighbours on their balconies, playing ‘balcony bingo’ (sure to become a ‘thing’), even running balcony fitness classes.
Most definitely do not throw the baby out with the bath water.
- Dream a Little
I know this all sounds a bit ‘life coachy’ or new age, but you may have a lot of time on your hands in the coming weeks; and, believe me, you’ll soon tire of bingeing on Netflix and box sets. Maybe you’ve been on the same old treadmill for a while. This is the perfect opportunity to take a long, hard look at your life, give full rein to your imagination, do Google research till your fingers bleed and come up with a post crisis plan for what you really want in your life. Fuel your imagination with possibility and encourage your neural networks to ‘look on the bright side of life.’ You’ll be amazed at how different (in a good way) your life could look 12 months from now when you give yourself a chance to dream a little.
- Capture Insignificant Moments
Too often we focus only on the big events in life to motivate or increase our happiness…like holidays, social gatherings and special occasions. Covid-19 is a complete kick in the guts to this kind of happiness strategy (which always was built on ‘shifting sands’).
Instead, resolve to pay very close attention to all the small things that uplift you, make you laugh, smile or just feel better than you did a moment before. Keep a journal of those moments, which can be in a notepad on your phone, can be photographic, audio or just an old fashioned pen and pretty notebook. The aim is to build a wealth store of tiny experiences, an investment, if you like, that you can draw on when you get an inevitable difficult or dark day – and that will make you feel brighter.
This may sound a small thing or a bit of a faff, but this is one of the most powerful habits you can adopt to expand your sense of well-being, happiness, and personal freedom for the long term.