Anxiety and the pandemic
From Date - Aug 21, 2020
Anxiety can lead to depression and anyone suffering from this disorder could do worse than consult the WHO facts sheet.
If you do have these symptoms then you need to know that you are not suffering alone, the global figures for depression are truly massive. It is estimated that 264 million people worldwide have an anxiety disorder and 31.1% of U.S. adults experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives. The good news is that this state of mind is temporary and can be changed for the better. It is good to reach out for professional help, whilst knowing that the answer lies within yourself.
Of course, we are perhaps at our most vulnerable to dark thoughts during adolescence. This being before the point that we are more assured and comfortable within ourselves as adults. A state that, incidentally, many adults never achieve. This is the reason why we at e5-portfolio aim to accompany our members from high school to a top university and beyond. In other words, it is our mission to leave them in a better place at the end of our programme. A place where they are better equipped to face life, its problems, and pleasures. Most institutions test the known, we prefer to prepare our members for the unknown.
Sometimes depression is a consequence of truly dire personal circumstances, but on many occasions it has more to do with a feeling of isolation, being overwhelmed and the resultant impotence that accompanies this state. The current situation of the pandemic has caused added fear and uncertainty making anxiety and depression cases increase across the globe. For most of us, we have never gone through times such as these and so now more than ever have the opportunity to come together and support those most vulnerable through support, understanding and simple kindness. In any case it helps to channel those negative thoughts into some kind of positive practical experience. Which is why art as therapy can be such a useful tool.
We at e5 have developed an action plan based upon research derived from Csikszentmihaly.
His work suggests that we are close to working at our optimum creatively when we are fully immersed in a thing that he labels the Flow. Our practice suggests that if our members stimulate the mind, body, and spirit each day they can then create the space for inspired action which will lead to the Flow.
It is of further note that we can nourish or stimulate the mind by any positive intellectual activity.
I am, for example, trying to set aside 20 mins a day to learn Italian, despite the fact that languages are not my forté. I jog and workout regularly, whilst listening to good music can bring me to tears and uplift my spirits. You do not need to run a marathon to have a workout nor do you need a religious experience to find a spiritual state. Although, of course, we do not exclude either form of experience. Technology has been crucial at this pandemic time for us all to keep connected, and for those struggling with anxiety and depression to not be as isolated or to continue to get professional help and support through video sessions. It will also allow us at e5 to teach our next online course.
So the route to the flow is relatively simple, the difficulty, especially for adolescents with homework, exams, and other demands is finding the time in their overcharged agendas. The rewards are, however, worth any effort and once returned from this state the sufferer will feel relaxed and fulfilled knowing that you have been working close to their creative optimum. It helps reset the balance and give life some meaning. In other words, you regain control of your own thoughts and actions.
Here at e5-portfolio we try to match each member with a personal coach and mentor who act as guides for those who might be struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel. All faculty members are trained to reach out and understand.
Empathy despite being a very real virtue can also be very destructive. A good mentor understands but cannot share the anxiety or depression of the sufferer. In fact it is quite the reverse, the good mentor understands that they need to act as a counterbalance to any negative, destructive thoughts, whilst being comprehensive of the difficulties of dealing with such issues.
Although the solution to the problem lies firmly within the grasp of the sufferer, a great mentor can help with that hand up or the first step. The mentor can also help shine a little light on the potential solutions to the problem such as the one expounded in this short blog. All the sufferer needs to do is reach out and find the right helping hand.
That is why we only allocate a specific coach and mentor once we have profiled the e5-member and already understand their mindset. At that point, we can match the two parties.
Written by Stephen Preece
Photos by Nandhu Kumar Suzy Hazelwo from Pexels
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