How might lockdown be affecting our mental health?
We've had this question in: How might lockdown be affecting our mental health, and can we take any steps to help?
Mental health expert Olivia Remes has some answers for us...
Olivia - Yes, we absolutely can. Our mental health has been affected because of the lockdown, it is still being affected, but there are things that we can do. And the first thing that a lot of people have been experiencing during this lockdown is this loss of meaning and purpose. A lot of people, you know, we've all been working from home each day seems to be the same, nothing new is happening, nothing to look forward to. Because we don't have something to look forward to, that vision is kind of making us lose this meaning and purpose, and it's so important to get it back. And there was this interesting study that was done by Victor Franco, you know, this famous neurologist. He used to work with prisoners of war. And she noticed that the key, the one key difference between those prisoners who survived and those who didn't was whether or not they had meaning and purpose in their lives. So how can we get that meaning and purpose back, or if you don't feel like you have it, then how can you develop it? Well, one of the things that you can do is to find something that you're passionate about or find a task that you think you would enjoy working on, or even just a project, you know, and make regular progress on it. Even if it's for 45 minutes each day, because this can really make a significant difference to your mental health. It can get that meaning and purpose back when you know that you're working towards something. The other thing is we've been stuck inside so much and we haven't really had much of a chance to engage with other people to connect with others. That our minds have become prone to wandering, mind wandering, to daydreaming. You know, we're stuck inside with our thoughts, our minds are running away. But what is interesting is that the more we daydream, the more our minds wander, the more prone we are to depression and to poor mental health. People don't really think about that. That's why I think it's quite an interesting finding because ruminating and thinking a lot about things can actually predispose you to depression and mental health problems. So what is the antidote to that. Well focus on your present task - this pulls you out of your thoughts and it makes you focus on the present moment.
Phil - That's this idea of mindfulness, isn't it Olivia.
Olivia - Absolutely. Absolutely.