The Covid-19 pandemic has brought an uncontrollable, unpredictable, and sustained threat to my current lifestyle. It has caused me to experience increased levels of distress resulting in fear, worry and anxiety. How has this unprecedented crisis of a generation affected you?
While fear is a natural part of a hardwired biological response that is designed to keep us safe, prolonged stress flips activities from the prefrontal cortex onto the brain’s limbic system. When the limbic system takes over, our minds start spiraling into every possible fear driven scenario. Picturing negative possibilities can sometimes make you feel hopeless. However, there are still things you can do to create and maintain hope in these difficult times
In researching self-leadership, I have explored techniques to discover myself and learn to be adaptive in diverse situations. It involved me becoming aware of my situation, unpacking key drivers and developing new habits. A keen sense of self-awareness allows you to actively create feedback loops for your thoughts and emotions and proactively manage them.
The 4A approach of Adaptive Self Leadership are Acknowledge, Accept, Act, and Adapt will provide you a guideline to the approach that we are discussing in this series of article.
Acknowledging your fear and accepting that there is little control over the pandemic is the first step towards freeing up mental resources. This enables you to align and focus on alternative ways of leveraging your mental resources.
When I have clarity over my values and live true to them, I become anchored and remain focused on achieving the best possible outcome for myself. The brain which is negatively biased creates narratives and schemas that may impact the way that I perceive things around me. Being aware of these blind spots helps me to re-frame my thoughts. I have also realized that being aware of my strengths allows me to leverage it effectively and push myself further to greater heights.
Changes trigger emotions. Recognizing, regulating, and accepting these emotions allows you to respond more effectively to the events that caused them. When you are grappling with disruptive changes, emotions like fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, or frustration are common. Your feelings further impact your behavior and result in unwanted outcomes. The key to successful adaptation is to learn to accept the inner experience of emotions without judging them.
Hope is an optimistic state of mind, that is based on expectations of positive outcomes. It includes an element of confidence and creates desire and anticipation. With hope there is a need to explore creative and renewed possibilities with a growth mindset. With diverse possibilities, you can be agile and expansive in your approach to life and act effectively to lead yourself.
When you act with a growth mindset, you will adapt to these unprecedented changes by creating new habits and routines. New ideas and mindsets are sustained by the brain through habits. It is important to formulate them through reliable methods and techniques. These habits will continue to cultivate new hope, renewed determination and effective outcomes that will help you lead and adapt yourself to everyday situations.
In the next 4 articles, we will deep dive into each of these 4 elements. Stay tuned for our next article on the first A – Acknowledge!