Back to Earth: Turn to Healthy Mental Stimulation and Escapism

The world’s a pretty complicated place right now. Amidst an ongoing pandemic and serious restrictions put in place to protect ourselves physically, it’s just as critical that we focus on safeguarding our mental health and emotional wellness. Cabin fever is a very real threat, especially if you’re destined to be “stuck” inside for months on end. 

Of course, there is every reason to want to throw open the front door and soak up the fresh air, and that’s before considering the stresses of being separated from friends, loved ones and workmates who we had previously enjoyed the company of. Right now, since that cannot be done, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to stay mentally stimulated in a positive manner, minimizing the negative impact on our mental health as best as possible.

Today, we will take a closer look at the fundamentals – and critical nature – of escapism and self-focused stimulation. 

Enable a Calmer Mindset

The most essential step towards remaining optimistic and mentally healthy during periods of isolation is to figuratively wash away negative triggers. This is an opportune time to part ways with toxic individuals who cannot be helped at the moment, whose emotions and personalities may otherwise transmit unwanted feelings of loneliness and fear onto you. While it is perfectly understandable to want to assist them first and be there as a friend, family member, or otherwise, you need to first look after your own self. 

Ironically, a good way to do this is to nourish positive emotions. This can be a process as simple as breathing exercises, silent meditation, or a Zen-like morning ritual that enables you to start each day with relaxed nerves. Focus less on the noise in the world surrounding you, instead zeroing in on thoughtful, small changes that allow for an atmosphere conducive to a sense of calm and peacefulness. Many individuals right now are struggling to cope with being isolated at home because they have skipped this crucial step without knowing, meaning there has essentially been no adjustment to such a big change. When life presents these challenges, we need to be adaptable enough to face them with a sense of calm and self-control. Otherwise, “making the most of things” can take a turn for the worst. 

Trusting Your Body, Mind, and Their Relationship

After finding a sense of calm and reaching a point of emotional stability, which takes patience and dedication, the next step towards healthy stimulation is to develop heightened awareness of how your body and mind behave. How do we achieve this, and what does it really mean?

The key is understanding that everyone is uniquely emotionally triggered by certain stimulants. We have seen this in research on sexual attraction, coping with loss, post-traumatic stress and otherwise. Not all mental stimulants are good for us, so figuring out in advance what makes you “tick” and triggers negative reactive behavioural responses is critical. This makes it easier to avoid activities and means of entertainment that are unhealthy for you specifically. For instance, someone might enjoy video games but become hyper-aggressive and worked up as a result, while another individual may experience a sense of euphoria, calm and immersion that does the opposite and keeps them in a good mood. This could even occur from them playing the same video game specifically – every human mind is receptive to behavioural triggers in a different way.  

Learn how your mind interprets information and specific stimulants, and how you physically project a reaction, and you will become better attuned with your own self. This can also be useful practice for identifying whether you are coming down with symptoms and falling ill.

Appreciating the Little Things

Now that you have a deeper understanding of how your mind and body interact with one another in response to means of stimulation, explore ways to take your mind off the outside world and reflect for a while. Discover a new favourite genre of music (instrumental and new age are ideal for the present circumstances), enjoy classic cinema selections with your spouse and make it a fun little date night, or settle in with a hot cup of tea and a good book that immerses you in a fantastical world away from ours. 

At the same time, this is a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the little things. Having access to these means of entertainment or stimulation is a luxury that many others simply do not get to enjoy, as is that warm bed, cupboards full of delicious food and even a solid roof over your head. When the world is moving at its normal, rapid pace driven by sheer commercialism and wants more than needs, we tend to forget how very lucky we really are. Coming back down to earth and rekindling that wholesome and humble mindset not only allows you to be comfortable with what you have, but also might help you reestablish your focus once the outside world opens back up. And with that, you could do even more amazing things with your life.

Would you like further assistance on ways to stimulate and keep your mind healthy, during the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise? Reach out to us today to speak with an experienced and friendly ottawa therapist – we are happy to help in any way we can.