We’re starting this year after an undoubtedly exhausting 2020. The coronavirus pandemic and has disrupted work, derailed long and short-term plans, and taken an immense toll, emotionally and physically. With that in mind, now is an important time to check in on our mental health and focus on some strategies that can help us as we take on new challenges.
To help us do just that, workplace and happiness expert Jennifer Moss published a recent column on the CBC website with suggestions on how to move forward in a healthy, mindful way. While acknowledging that many of us have been through trauma and pain that may require additional support and professional help, Jennifer writes about how important framing of events and experiences in our memory is to resilience.
So, what does mental framing mean and how do we start adjusting our perspective? Jennifer points to a tendency right now among people to want to forget about 2020 or paint the year broadly with a negative hue. She argues that this is a stop-gap measure that doesn’t genuinely help our mental health and denies us the useful lessons of such a challenging experience. By really processing our experiences from the year, and finding positive outcomes and instructive events, we can reduce the negative emotions tied to those experiences while also helping ourselves learn from it all.
As Jennifer puts it, we can be both realistic and positive about the past year:
To continue healing into 2021, changing the filter through which we interpret 2020 will be essential. Reflecting and pulling this subconscious knowledge into our conscious mindset, helps it to stick. But, what stories we pull out is up to us. We have the ability to pay attention to these benefits over here – and stop only focusing on all the pain over there.
Let me be clear; it doesn’t mean that all of this pain, heartache and grieving didn’t exist and won’t still be part of our lives going forward. Being resilient isn’t about ignoring all of that. But to move on requires doing the things that help us more than harms us.
Jennifer Moss is an award-winning journalist, author and international public speaker specializing in happiness and wellness at work. Her book, Unlocking Happiness at Work, received the distinguished UK Business Book of the Year Award. Moss works with a wide range of organizations on how to develop and measure their happiness strategies for improved performance. Her inspiring and evidence-based presentations help leaders and their teams find joy and grow to become more resilient and successful.