Looking back at the past two years so much has changed due to the impact of COVID-19. We were faced with many changes, so fast—faster than we are accustomed to adapting to them. Just when we thought we finally reached peak performance and established the balance that works, our lifestyle was turned upside down. The way we work, the place we work, our daily routines and lifestyle habits, and the way we communicate and connect with one another.
Most importantly, some of the things we thought we knew and were so sure of, were challenged in ways we never thought would happen in real life. The stuff we thought we would only see on TV was actively playing out in our reality. The restrictions, isolation, mask mandates, sickness, death, the empty, gloomy streets and winds crawling with fear, the lines at grocery stores and gun shops, the empty shelves, and panic in peoples’ eyes. I can’t help but think about how all these constant changes that have been ongoing for over a year now have influenced our mindset and the way we see the world around us.
Throughout the numerous conversations I had with folks from all over the world this past year, I learned so much about how each individual had their own unique experience. Although the entire world was going through the same thing, the impact had many layers. It led some to expand their thinking beyond what we know, finding creative pathways to grow. For others, it led to fear of uncertainty and limiting beliefs as an impact of what we don’t know. Sounds like a paradox, right…
One of the biggest lessons I learned is that nothing is ever 100% guaranteed and in order to thrive in a fast-paced changing world, we have to build our mental agility to meet the demands of these changes. Otherwise, we will continue operating in survival mode, letting the fear of 'what if' barricade us from reaching our full potential. Mental agility is your mind’s mental flexibility, your ability to perceive, process and adapt quickly to changes.
In this article, I will discuss tips to improve your well-being and maximize your quality of life.
# 1 - Embrace the Change.
When we are first faced with a change, our minds can perceive the change as a threat because it is unfamiliar. It is a force that pushes us outside of our comfort zone, leaving us feeling a bit more out of control and having to figure out a new balance to keep steady. This is a normal reaction to change. Being aware of how you personally perceive change is vital to your journey.
# 2 - Explore your Thoughts.
Thoughts are a form of feedback, they come and go, the more we pay attention to a thought the more energy we give it to grow. Ever notice how sometimes you get so lost in thought and before you know it a couple of hours passed by and you have an entire story built in your mind about everything that is going to happen if that thought was to come true? Then you find yourself believing and acting in ways as if that thought is really happening. That’s when you know that fear is shaping your mindset and you don’t have to believe everything you think. Instead, look for parallels and patterns in your thought structure. Separate the facts from assumptions and ask yourself—Am I operating out of fear or passion? Give yourself the opportunity to explore the unknown before deciding on what you don’t know based on the illusion manifesting in your mind.
# 3 - Be a Change Catalyst.
A lot easier said than done! Yet, getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things regularly exposes you to new experiences and equips you to be more agile. Reflecting back on my personal experience, many of the opportunities I wanted to avoid turned out to be some of the best experiences. Keep in mind that your comfort zone will always be there, you can go back to it to recharge anytime.
# 4 – Discover New Meanings.
With every change, new information comes to the surface. In many ways, we apply what we learned and know to these new situations. When a lot of changes occur, the meanings we once knew may no longer apply or make sense because the circumstance changed so much. This can show up as a lack of clarity or brain fog; partly because we try to make old meanings fit new situations missing out on all the new information we encountered along the way. To strengthen our mental agility, we need to find new meanings to new situations. Not only account for the new information that comes about from these changes but also explore meanings at their core, below the surface.
#5 – Find Your Voice.
Sometimes we hold onto painful memories because it is the only connection we have left before letting go completely. There is a purpose to why we do that, we want to remind ourselves of what we learned and how strong we are to overcome such painful or challenging experiences. Sometimes when we hold on to these memories for an extended period of time, we can lose our voice in the process. Remember that sharing your wisdom and experience with others amplifies meaning and strengthens your voice. Shifting from holding onto painful memories to sharing them changes the type of connection we have with our past. Instead of it holding us back, it fosters connection and drives us forward.
If you find it hard to cope with changes or feel like you have lost your voice, seeking therapy from a Licensed Professional Counselor can be helpful in exploring the roots of these barricades to overcome them and find your new balance.