How To Promote Your Sense of Well-Being During The Covid-19 Pandemic

There's little doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact upon mental health, and that is illustrated in data that has shown a rise in anxiety and depression levels for many years.

During the pandemic, restrictions and lockdowns you may have found yourself feeling more anxious, feeing low, stressed or worried, and have experienced a dip in your well-being and mood. I've covered before how things like sleep, alcohol consumption and self-esteem have also been impacted upon. All of the research, data and surveys have provided ample evidence of the current adverse impact upon mental health.

If you are struggling with anxiety, stress or worry, whether pandemic-related or otherwise, I'd strongly suggest looking through some of the articles here on my website for information, advice, strategies and things that you can do to support your own mental health and well-being. There are many steps you can take that can alleviate unwanted feelings and interrupt unwanted thoughts.

During stressful events that change our normal lifestyle and routines, we can find ourselves thinking back fondly on life before the pandemic, with a sense of loss or longing. Alternatively, you may just be focusing on each and every day and getting through it, or maybe savouring the better moments. Or you may find that you tend to look ahead and think about your life after lockdown. 

When I work with clients, elements of thinking back, focusing on the present, and looking forward can all have benefits, if utilised in the right way. You can draw upon things that have gone well, successes, accomplishments and overcoming previous adversities to remind yourself that you are capable right now. It can be useful to focus on what is going right and the positives from each and every day to boost your mood and interrupt any tendency to only focus on issues and problems. And, inside your imagination, you can prime your mind for how you want to be thinking, feeling, acting and reacting in the future.

Thanks to some recent research, we now also know where you should direct your focus, and how, if you want to promote your well-being and feel better during the challenges of a lockdown. So would you benefit most from thinking back on things from before lockdown, paying attention to the present, or by looking forward to life after lockdown? 

covid19 pandemic wellbeing mental health dan regan hypnotherapyely

 

Promoting Your Sense of Well-Being 

The current Covid-19 pandemic, and the restrictions and lockdowns as part of it, have had a negative impact on mental health and well-being. Many people have been struggling with depression, anxiety, worry and stress.  

It seems pretty important, therefore, to seek ways to promote your own well-being during lockdown and throughout this pandemic (and even beyond it too). To aid us with this, we have the results of a research that evaluated the effectiveness of three positive psychology interventions for promoting well-being during lockdown.

Dennis, Ogden and Hepper (Evaluating the impact of a time orientation intervention on well-being during the COVID-19 lockdown: past, present or future? 2020) looked at three interventions from positive psychology, which have different time orientations, and that have been shown to increase well-being: nostalgia (past-orientated), gratitude (focus on the present) and best possible self (which focuses on the future). That is, to support your well-being and mental health during lockdown, is it best for you to focus on things from the past, to pay more attention to the here and now, or to focus more on how you want things to be in the future? 

In this study, the nostalgia group thought back on a past event in their life from before lockdown, the gratitude group listed three good things that went well today and why, and the best-possible-self group were instructed to imagine themselves in the future, after the lockdown has been lifted and after everything has gone as well as it possibly could.

The results suggest that the greatest benefits for your well-being during lockdown come from focusing on the present, through gratitude, or the future, through the Best Possible Self. 

"To conclude, the results show focusing on the present (through gratitude) and future (through BPS) were more effective at promoting well-being during lockdown due to COVID-19 than focusing on the past (through nostalgia)."

And so, focusing on the present or future during this lockdown is more effective for your sense of well-being than focusing on the past (your life before lockdown). Perhaps even better, if you want to support and promote your well-being and mental health (both during lockdown as in this study, and beyond), there are a couple of simple practices you can build into your day that will help you.

 

Well-Being: The Present and The Future

To boost your well-being you can draw upon the research above, and a wealth of other research, to incorporate some simple strategies into your day.

To get get the positive benefits from gratitude, the participants in the above research were instructed to list three things that went well that day and why they went well. It really can be that simple - taking no more than two minutes a day - to boost your well-being and mental health. 

The research and evidence shows that practising gratitude has major positive benefits for your mental health and well-being. It can boost your self-esteem, reduce self-criticism, and help you to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms. The science suggests that you will benefit from implementing techniques, such as the three positive things, purposefully.  

I've also covered much more on the science and ways to practice gratitude in these earlier articles:

Gratitude and Well-Being: How To Improve Your Well-Being and Self-Esteem

The Impact of Gratitude on Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem and Well-being

Using Negative Visualisation To Support Having A Wonderful Life

The Benefits of Kindness - How Being Kind Can Make You Happier

And it's also straight-forward to boost your well-being by thinking about the future too.

In the research above, the participants were instructed to imagine their best possible self after lockdown and to write down their thoughts. Thinking about their best possible self means imagining themselves in the future, after the lockdown has been lifted and after everything has gone as well as it possibly could. 

This well-being enhancing technique can be applied to any number of future events, situations and circumstances. You can incorporate it into mental rehearsal and visualisation techniques. To combat anxiety and stress about something, you can imagine yourself in the future, after the event has ended, and after everything has gone as well as it possibly could. You could equally apply it to other anxiety, being more confident, weight loss and so on.

Several of my hypnosis downloads incorporate similar practices to help with issues such as anxiety relief and increasing confidence.

Based upon the research I've covered here, it makes sense to invest just a few minutes each day on these two positive psychology interventions. You can do them as beneficial techniques in their own right, or as a useful adjunct to other therapeutic approaches. It certainly makes a lot of sense to start doing them now, during lockdown, and then to maintain them as consistent, habitual, well-being boosters each and every day even beyond the pandemic. Enjoy and I think you'll certainly benefit from them.

 

To your health and happiness,

Dan Regan

Online Skype and Zoom Hypnotherapy  

Face-to-face hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

Struggling with anxiety, stress, worry and fear and need some help? Find out how I can help with a Complimentary Hypnotherapy Strategy Session. Learn more here: Appointments

Find out what dozens of other people have said after their hypnotherapy sessions with Dan: Hypnotherapy Testimonials

And check out these powerful hypnosis downloads that can start helping you right away with anxiety, confidence and more: Hypnosis Downloads

 

Reference:

Dennis, A., Ogden, J. and Hepper, E.G., 2020. Evaluating the impact of a time orientation intervention on well-being during the COVID-19 lockdown: past, present or future?. The Journal of Positive Psychology, pp.1-11.