We can come out stronger than ever before
Elisabeth Villiger Toufexis
We can come out stronger than ever before
BY Srishti Kapoor
Elisabeth Villiger Toufexis is the author of the book The Soul Kit and a Life Coach, NLP Practitioner, Hypnotist and Motivational Speaker. She is the Director of the Global Woman Club in Cyprus and supports women entrepreneurs in building strategies and overcoming hindrances in their businesses. Her expertise helps women to achieve their business goals through focus and self-confidence. As this is a hard time for all of us due to the Coronavirus, she has raised her voice to guide people with a few techniques and tips we can use to feel positive and motivated.
How can we deal with stress and fear regarding the coronavirus?
The only way to deal with fear is to face it, sit quietly and observe the present moment. We spend a lot of energy worrying about things that will never happen. Remember that our mind listens to our self-talk and the pictures we create in our head and goes and finds for us what it thinks is important. Even though it may not be so easy in the current situation, thinking positive thoughts and keeping a positive attitude is essential. When fear or anxiety arises, use mindful meditation techniques and notice how your body feels when you inhale slowly through your nose with your shoulders relaxed, exhale slowly and keep your jaw relaxed. Start your day with positive affirmations and ask yourself empowering questions like: “What can I do today to create an even better life than I already have?”, and the universe will present you with opportunities. Gratitude and humor are antidotes to fear; write in your gratitude journal what you are grateful for, watch something funny or connect with a friend that makes you laugh.
Can self-isolation and working remotely affect our mental health?
Humans desire a tribal sense of belonging, going back to the beginning of times when no one could survive alone. When you were excluded from the tribe you were practically dead, and worrying so much about what others think goes back to those times because we fear that we may be eliminated from a group. We are not meant to be alone and self-isolation could affect our mental health. However, as evolved human beings we know that self-acceptance and self-love are necessary steps for a happy life and that we must not make our happiness depend on others. Even though we have the opportunity to be connected on the internet, this does not replace personal, human interaction, we cannot feel vibes and energy online. It is important to accept the fact that the present Coronavirus situation will not last forever and be grateful for the possibility to connect with each other online. Maintaining a positive attitude and managing our time alone is key, we have to bring structure in our life.
Can limited human interaction lead to mental breakdown?
In the long run, social isolation over the years can cause depression, anxiety, and chronic disease. What we are going through at the moment is during a limited time and one crucial and positive fact is to realize that this will pass. Reaching out and asking for help are signs of strength and not signs of weakness. When we notice that our social isolation is making us depressed or anxious, it is important to connect with someone and talk about it. This is a moment in time where it is even more essential to be here for each other and reach out for each other to avoid a mental breakdown. This is an opportunity to think of people who live alone and need a call, a message or some face timing. You can stay digitally connected, facetime with your grandma or have a good laugh in a zoom meeting.
How can we use this phase for personal growth and development?
This is the perfect opportunity to sit down and reflect on what is really important and how much time and energy we spend on unimportant things. We can use this chance to go over our goals, readjust them and create new ones, make them ”achievable” and then decide what can be done digitally and what will have to wait. It’s a chance to dream and visualize the things which we truly desire in our hearts and minds and make a plan for them, create a vision board. It’s a time to be creative, let us embrace it and go over our values, beliefs, and habits and contemplate if we may want to change or realign some of them. We can use this phase to meditate more, learn some words of the language of a country that we are planning to go to, draw or paint and find out how many things we can actually cook with what we have available.
Do you have any tips for the public to feel positive and calm in this situation?
One of my favorite quotes ever comes from Victor Frankl: Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
We cannot change the stimulus; the Coronavirus situation is a fact, but we can certainly decide how we want to react to it. Fear and anxiety are very unhealthy emotions that will affect our immune system, which needs to be kept healthy now. Good nutrition, exercise, a positive attitude, practicing gratitude and stress management are the basis for a strong immune system. Living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent chronic diseases and long-term illnesses. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by doing what is right for our body, always and not only when the scaremongering of the Coronavirus goes around is key. We can manage anxiety and stress with breathing exercises and meditation, if we need guidance, it’s all available on Youtube. Always remember, this too shall pass and if we stay connected, even if only virtually, we can come out stronger than ever. Stop watching the news all the time and reading comments on social media; everyone has become an expert on the subject. Stay realistic and don’t believe everything you read.