Written by: Patricia Faust, MGS, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
2020 turned out to be the year of the unknown.2021 teases us with the idea that we are approaching a normal existence only to keep all aspects of our lives in turmoil. And as we move through the shadow of the pandemic, we are still in no-man’s land. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift. The reality that we operated under previous to 2020 no longer exists.
Where does that leave us? How are we to process the unknown that we are so fearful about? This is a complicated question. Our brain has been and continues to be on high alert. The purpose of our brain is survival – our brain is hardwired to sense threat and respond with ‘fight or flight’. This year we have not seen an end to the threat of COVID and all of the losses we have sustained as a result of COVID. So now we are suffering from COVID fatigue and at the very worst, brain burnout. How do we continue to move through this year in such bad shape mentally and emotionally?
A Paradigm Shift
There comes a time within the paradigm shift (a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions) that we need to accept the changes that we have no power over. Fighting the good fight over what we cannot change, keeps us in a state of fear and anger. Our brain is quite capable of changing to our new reality. We have the power to make that happen. We just need to realize that positive change is something that we must actively work on every day. This may seem like a ‘pie in the sky’ approach but it is just as viable as keeping your brain in chronic stress/threat mode. It is now up to us to dig in and build some resilience from all of the losses of COVID.
Where do you start with that transformation? First of all, take three deep breaths. Breathing actually has the power to break the chronic stress cycle. Then start small. Forgive yourself for any responsibility that you are experiencing because you lost your job, or you can’t find a job. You need to reignite your belief that you are worthy and that these circumstances do not dictate who you are. You cannot keep going back to your old ways and continue to say, “what if”. Be honest with yourself about what you need to do. Believe that what you need will come to you. When you shift your thoughts about where you are and where you want to be and totally believe that you can accomplish this change, your subconscious brain will start taking you where you need to go. That means that you need to listen to your underlying thoughts. Or when you get ready to go to sleep, write your questions about ‘what’s next’ and be aware of any thoughts that come to you in the morning. Your conscious brain blocks many of your subconscious thoughts because your brain is again – programmed for survival. Your conscious brain is in that mode of chronic stress. As crazy as your subconscious beliefs might seem to you – it is your real truth. Believe in it and trust in it. Then do one of the hardest things you might have ever done. Start over. Our world and culture are no longer the same as before. We must make the appropriate changes in order to move forward.
A Leap of Faith
There is another big leap of faith that you must take. In the realm of losing everything financially, you must believe that you can make changes to turn that around. There is nothing more terrifying than having no money. Anyone who has experienced this situation may find themselves with sleepless nights trying in vain to figure out how to pay bills. Learning to relax in that situation and believing that you would make it, works wonders for your brain to do the job! There are many things about having no money that teaches you some big lessons. You really drill down into what is important. You have to be willing to let go of the way you saw yourself. No money doesn’t mean you are a failure, but it could mean that you have to make some serious course changes in your life. Changing your life is huge, but doable. Small steps consistently made will keep you moving forward resulting in small victories.
This solution might not be for everyone or anyone. But trust in yourself that you have the power to change your life. Your brain is so capable of doing that. Just believe in where you are going next. Use the power of your brain to the MAX!
Patricia Faust, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Patricia Faust is a gerontologist specializing in brain aging, brain health, brain function, and dementia. She has a Masters'sin Gerontological Studies degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Patricia is certified as a brain health coach and received a Neuroscience and Wellness certification through Dr. Sarah McKay and the Neuroscience Academy. My Boomer Brain, founded in 2015, is the vehicle that Patricia utilizes to teach, coach, and consult about brain aging, brain health, and brain function. Her newsletter, My Boomer Brain, has international readers from South Africa, Australia, Europe, and Canada. Patricia’s speaking experience spans the audiences' spectrum as she addresses corporate executives on brain function, regional financial professionals on client diminished capacity, and various senior venues concerning issues around brain aging and brain health.