“Whatever the universal nature assigned to any man at any time is for the good of that man at that time.” Marcus Aurelius
The primary fact of the coronavirus crisis is that the apparent certainties and familiarities of our previous lives have been challenged. In contrast to pre coronavirus, where as we look back, we only see certainty, familiarity and confidence in our future, there is now uncertainty and some fear. I would suggest there are three basic ways to restore our Mental health and emotional stability.
The first is to realise that we can never ever reside in complete certainty, familiarity and confidence and that change and disruption are an essential part of all our lives. And indeed as we look back, we can surely see the times when we were flexible and we did adapt and we embraced the change that we understood was the essence of the life we led.
And what else is needed in this time of coronavirus?
It is to go back to basics and nothing is more profoundly true than the Human Given’s organising idea. The question is then how to adapt the HG organising idea to our current situation. This in turn requires that we work on ourselves to restore a degree of stability and calmness. What will also be essential is that we reframe the Human Given’s organising idea, so that it can serve us in this new situation.
The three important steps in summary:
- Understand the Human Given’s organising idea for living a mentally resilient life.
- Learn to adapt and reframe these principles to the current situation.
- Working on yourself – to develop a calm mind, build your resources and so take better decisions in the uncertainty that coronavirus is unleashing.
Human Given’s organising idea
Human Givens teaches that we all have emotional needs – around safety and security, the work we do and the meaning we derive and a range of human connections and interactions. And these needs are as essential as physical needs, such as for food and shelter. We also have resources – of empathy, of imagination, for the good use of our emotional templates and learning and a rational organised brain. Healthy individuals are those that use their resources well in order to meet their essential needs. Voila – what could be simpler? I explain in more detail here . And do look at my Needs Pagoda.
What has changed for you since coronavirus In terms of getting your essential needs met – around work, safety, relationships and meaning? What have you learnt about your capacity and resources? They have been challenged for sure. But could you be pleased with how you’ve coped and what have you learnt of yourself that you can rely on where previously you might have had doubts? And though the needs we all have unchanging, there are so many ways in which these needs can be met. Have you learnt something of that from your own experience?
Adaption and reframing
Although, Human Givens would say that our human needs are pretty well fixed and unchanging, there are many ways in which these needs can be met. Further, there is a vital distinction between needs and wants.
And this is how it has to be because we know, and the crisis is emphasising, that change is part of the human condition. So the impossibility of living a life where our human needs were perfectly well met in an unchanging set of circumstances is clear and self-evident.
Consider a picture hanging on a wall. You will well understand that our view of that picture will depend on where we are standing as we look at it. The view of this picture on the wall will be different, depending on whether we see it from the right side, the left side from above it or below. Our view is not fixed at all.
And so, knowing that our human needs are different from our wants and with change an essential part of human life and understanding also that our view of every and anything is dependent on where we are standing, how can you adapt and reframe your life right now, so you are naturally more comfortable?
Human Givens therapists are taught that reframing is the essential element to all good therapy. You have an opportunity now to reframe the life you are living such that you are better a better life and getting your needs met.
Working on yourself
An important principle of meditation is that as you meditate it is easier to be in the present moment, rather than focusing on either future hopes and fears or past triumphs and disasters. This in turn calms the mind and brings perspective. And I strongly recommend meditation for those whose mind and life is sufficiently stable to facilitate it. And of course meditative practices are far broader than to be sitting still in front of a flame or a Buddha. All activities can be meditative – from eating a raisin, washing-up after dinner, planting roses in the garden and to be briskly walking down the street.
Questions to ask yourself
- As you notice the changes in your main relationships, what are you really appreciating more now?
- As you spend more time with yourself, what is really helping you feel safe and secure?
- As you look back to your previous pre-coronavirus life, what area was most lacking in terms of human needs – intimate and social relationships, satisfying work, safety and security, meaning?
- In what areas since coronavirus, would you say there’s been the most beneficial change?
- As you embrace the change so far, what has been your greatest pleasure and joy?
- What has been new activity since the beginning of lockdown that has that given you the most satisfaction?