Covid does not depend on us. But our reactions to Covid do, they surely do.
For this reason, if we want to live a happy life even in the times of Covid we can try to put into practice some suggestions that come to us from positive psychology.
First of all, it is normal to experience negative feelings during this period: anxiety, frustration, uncertainty, sadness, anger … these are all normal feelings for this very difficult period.
But how to react to such feelings? One method to manage these feelings is the technique called “RAIN”, a meditation practice developed by the American psychologist Tara Brach that we can use whenever we are faced with a negative emotion.
– “R” stands for “RECOGNIZE”: name what you are experiencing, recognize the negative feeling you are goig through For example, did you receive an e-mail that made you upset? Well, acknowledge that you feel annoyed, frustrated or upset about this email;
– “A” stands for “ACCEPT“: accept that this feeling is present in you, a bit like when you know you have to deal with a neighbor you don’t like. It is there … I have to accept it;
– “I” stands for “INVESTIGATE“: try to understand what this feeling entails in you, physically and mentally. Do you have a heavy chest? Tension in the neck? Do you want to think about something else and go to eat something? Notice what happens in your body and in your mind. If you think about it, and you recognize them, negative emotions pass faster;
– “N” stands for “NURTURE”: this step is very important. Talk to yourself and try to nurture your feelings, take care of what you are experiencing, using the words you would say to a friend who comes to you talking about the problem you are experiencing. Use some healthy self-compassion, without being hard on yourself. After all, it’s just an e-mail.
We need to process the sensations we experience, not to let them grow inside of us. We have to move on. This is one way to do it, which is offered to us by science.
And I will tell you that both the Buddha and Jesus themselves are also guiding us in this wise (and healthy!) direction.
In the “story of the two arrows”, Buddha taught us that the wise man is not the one who, struck by a painful event, grieves, torments himself, does not rest … and therefore experiences two pains: the physical one ( the first arrow) and the mental one (the second arrow). The wise man, when he experiences an unpleasant sensation, does not worry, does not fidget, does not lose the sense of reality. Thus, he avoids suffering twice, a first time due to external events and a second time due to how he relates to those external events.
In a similar way, Jesus urged us not to become prey to restlessness and anxiety, because each day already has its own difficulties and we must never forget that we are precious in the eyes of God, who loves us immensely: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (…) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6: 26,34). Well… Amen!
Sending virtual hugs to you all,