The Psychology of Lockdown: #3 Adaptability – Managing your State of Mind

Number 3 in our ‘Psychology of Lockdown’ blog series is Adaptability – how to adapt your state of mind to one that’s helpful in a given situation. At this point in the COVID-19 government lockdown period we are all starting to feel the effects. Becoming aware of techniques to adapt our state to suit the circumstances we are powerless to change is an extremely useful skill to have. 


The definition of Adaptability is the ability to change or be changed to fit changing circumstances. Becoming more adaptable improves the ability of an individual, team or organisation to adjust or change itself to best meet the needs of the situation or environment. Therefore, if change occurs, an adaptable person can adjust and find how best to perform in the new situation as opposed to being stuck in old behaviours. 

Studies have shown that people with higher levels of emotional resilience are significantly more likely to be able to adapt to new and changing situations. Also, that people who are more adaptable tend to feel more satisfied in their career and family life. Being adaptable is a key tool in the resilience toolkit. 


State Management


Being adaptable comes down to the ability to manage your state of mind (state). To become more resilient, we must develop the skill of recognising when we may or may not be in the correct state of mind to approach different situations in life.


Instead of asking “How can I change my state of mind?” many people simply think they have to live with whatever mood they’re in. Some buy into the limiting belief that they are prone to unhappiness or anxiety or that they can only be in a good mood when the outside world is moving as they want it to.


So, how do you change your state of mind, even when you’re dealing with immense stress or a feeling of being trapped? Below are 3 techniques to instantly change our state of mind: 


  1. Physiology –  Emotion is created by motion. In other words, emotions are linked to movement in our bodies. Observe your posture when you are happy, as opposed to when you are sad. Your body language sends signals to your brain about how you’re feeling and operating. If you have a poor posture, it only lends itself to poor emotions, or a negative state. Good posture and alertness produce a more positive state. Smiling and standing up straight with your shoulders back puts you in a more confident and powerful state of mind right away. By using physiology in this way you are overriding the negative thoughts and emotions with your body in order to tell your brain to feel positive. 


  1. Get a Mantra- Mantras are a tool we can use to keep focused on a positive state of mind. A mantra is simply a sentence or phrase that helps you get back to your ideal state by repeating it several times. For example, during this Corona Virus upset, repeating the mantra  “We are resilient, positive and determined. We can get through any crisis”  can help you get closer to a positive state of mind from a negative one. 


  1. Visualisation -Visualisation is simply seeing the positive outcome for an event play out in your mind. By continually visualising positive outcome the mind becomes more confident and positive that this is the certain future. Therefore, when you arrive at these situations in life you already have the ideal scenario planned out. 


How we process adversity and stress strongly affects our mental health and wellbeing. That’s why it’s so important to work on our resilience “tools”. Life can be extremely challenging at times so having a resilient mindset gives us the power to overcome those setbacks and misfortunes that may come our way.


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