Gary Burton State of Mind coach and founder of Principles for Performance has produced this article Exclusively for Breaking News Today.
In today’s current climate it would seem that suffering from anxiety or stress is totally understandable and indeed it seems like we are coping well if all we are doing is worrying a lot.
Now don’t get me wrong, I totally understand how debilitating and serious anxiety and stress can be if you suffer from them.
They can take over our lives and can cause extreme mental health issues, which in turn can have significant effects on our physical health. So I am not for a moment trying to trivialise how serious the effects can be and how they can impact any of us at any time.
I can also see, how at this time more than ever, how easy it would seem that we can succumb to these feelings.
The Coronavirus has plunged us all into a crisis that I don’t think anybody living has ever experienced before.
We have never known a disease that has spread so comprehensively across our planet so quickly with such devastating impact.
In a matter of months, it has left virtually no country untouched and at time of writing there has been 723,732 confirmed cases worldwide resulting in over 30,000 deaths which is no doubt a huge tragedy causing incredible suffering.
The financial toll so far has been huge with the G20, the twenty leading countries of the world pledging to spend $5 trillion to support their economies through this crisis.
The toll on our health and finance is being felt in the UK, as confirmed cases and deaths rise each day as people mourn their loved ones and livelihoods are paused or lost as a result of the steps taken by the Government to halt this virus.
With all of this occurring, wouldn’t it be natural to think that everybody’s stress and anxiety levels would be through the roof?
Faced with the imminent prospect of catching a virus that can have very serious consequences for yourself or family members or the thought of not knowing how you will pay the mortgage or the rent?
Are they not irrefutable reasons why so many of us will suffer far more in our mental health than we will in our physical health?
They certainly will be while we consider feelings like anxiety, stress or worry are caused by external events or circumstances.
While it may seem that they are as contagious and inevitable as the Coronavirus itself, there is a different way to understand how all feelings and emotions including anxiety, stress and worry are created that can transform our lives for the better.
Consider for a moment the possibility that how we feel from moment to moment and the emotions we experience in real time are created from within us all in exactly the same way.
Whatever thought comes into our consciousness in the moment actually creates the way we feel. The appearance that whatever is happening on the outside is making us feel happy or sad, stressed or relaxed, anxious or excited is actually an incredibly powerful misunderstanding.
I think most of us can realise this to some degree.
Consider this simple example, you go to watch a movie with some friends and when you leave the cinema you chat about what you thought of the film. You might have thought it was an awesome film that made you laugh or cry, somebody else will say how they thought it was boring and a waste of two hours of their life while somebody else would just be pretty neutral about it and say it was ok.
If it was the film that made us feel a certain way, then we would all have the same experience coming from common feelings generated from the movie.
The reason we have a different experience of the film is because our feelings are being generated by whatever thoughts are being created by each one of us moment by moment.
This is why not only will everyone of us have a different experience from the same event or circumstance, what another person says or does or any other external source, but each one of us can have different feelings or emotions from the same external influences at different times.
Consider how somebody can say or do something one day and it could really make you angry or frustrated, while on another day you laugh it off like water off a duck’s back and on another it doesn’t even register with you because your mind or to be more precise your thoughts are elsewhere.
While you will probably be able to relate to these simple daily examples, you may well say it cannot possibly apply to really serious situations and events especially such as the critical ones that all 7 billion of us are facing right now.
The more you look in the direction that all of our feelings and emotions are created from the inside out and not from the outside in, the more you can start to see that anxiety and stress are not inevitable even at times such as now.
Yes, all of us will naturally have anxious or stressful thoughts that create those feelings but understand their source and they can become transient and freer flowing.
None of us can control our thoughts but we do not have to fixate or dwell on them as that’s when they can start to have a serious impact on our mental health.
See that Thought from moment to moment creates our experience and by nature’s design it is free flowing and you will experience life in a much lighter, easier way even when faced with the most extreme challenges.
The more you can see how each one of us creates our experience through our consciousness in each moment the more we can put this understanding to practical use.
The more our minds settle when we understand how we work psychologically, the more we can benefit from the mental freedom that results.
When we are calm our minds function better, we intuitively start to make better decisions as we deal more effectively with what we can control and let the anxious thoughts about what we cannot control just pass.
At the moment that could mean it is easier to follow the guidelines around the lockdown and distancing, as it will make more sense to us and we will fret less over the implications.
We could even see the opportunity in the world slowing down to a pace that most of us have never experienced.
We could put our phones down and talk to our families more, choose to make the most of the time to exercise and get fitter or do the things that we never get time to do normally.
When we are all faced with tough times financially, from a calm mind it will be easier to look into the significant amount of support that the Government has made available.
If you pay a mortgage, talk to your provider about the possibility of taking a mortgage payment holiday or your landlord or managing agent regarding support paying your rent.
You can speak to your council about your council tax payments, your energy provider and your credit card company.
All of these payments may be able to be deferred or reduced and then arrangements made to pay back when this crisis is over.
All these actions will be so much easier to see through when we are not gripped by anxious or stressful thinking.
When we get lost in the illusion that these feeling are caused by what is going on out there in the world, they feel very personal and permanent, like you are alone and isolated in feeling this way and it will go on forever.
The more you can consider that how we actually work psychologically is universal and all emotions come and go as do our thoughts that create them, then you will realise that you are not alone in your thinking and that all feelings do pass.
In summary, we are all going through very challenging times so if we can start to see that good mental health and resilience is innate within all of us, then we will realise that even now we do not need to get lost in anxiety or fear and our lives can be easier, richer and more enjoyable as a result.
Who is Gary Burton ?
Gary Burton is a director of businesses in the marketing, property and social sectors as well as a coach and facilitator focussing on understanding state of mind to deliver an individual’s or a company’s full potential.
As an owner and director of several successful businesses over the last 25 years as well as being a father, stepfather and grandfather, Gary has learned that the state of mind and mental health of everybody within a family, business or any organisation is the most important variable factor in deciding whether it thrives or struggles.
When people operate from a clear mind you will see creativity, innovation, resilience and the ability to manage change flow through them effortlessly.
Alternatively, when people live with an over revved busy mind you will see issues such as stress, anxiety, procrastination and overwhelm become more prevalent and problematic.
According to the charity Mind, mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and unmanageable stress affects one in six British workers each year costing the UK economy up to £26 billion through lost work days, staff turnover and lower productivity.
He founded www.principles4performance.co.uk to help business owners, directors and leaders see that there are established principles that will deliver high performance through a calmer state of mind and ensure the wellbeing of everybody within their business. He is also a director and avid supporter of the CIC www.beyond-recovery.co.uk that works in the community and within the Criminal Justice System. Founded by Jacqueline Hollows they work with individuals that have a history of addiction and offending to discover their own innate mental health and full potential.
Note from editor: Gary has worked on a number of amazing projects including a prison mentorship scheme which was hailed “a miracle for young lives