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India’s top psychiatrist explains how you can be hopeful in spite of the pandemic and economic crisis

Published on:8 September 2020, 15:19pm IST
We live in a difficult time and finding a silver lining can be difficult. But, we got Dr Samir Parikh to share how to stay mentally healthy in the midst of this pandemic.
Shreya Gupta
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There’s always something to be hopeful about. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Ever since the lockdown was announced in the country, we’ve all faced uncertainty. This uncertainty has affected all spheres of our lives, ranging from our future and our jobs to our relationships. To find hope amidst this pandemic seems to be difficult, especially when recently we’ve also run into economic troubles as a country.

We’re hitting new records when it comes to covid-19 positive cases every other day. In fact, the situation doesn’t seem to be anywhere near improving. Moreover, the recent quarterly financial reports, which show our economy taking a major hit due to the pandemic, has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health.

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There’s every reason for us to panic and get anxious because everyone’s future is uncertain. From a person who was looking forward to starting their own venture to the youngsters who are looking for jobs, every single person is anxious about the economic crisis.

We’ve seen the whole world coming to a standstill. With touch, hugs and kisses becoming a taboo, the virus has fundamentally changed the way we live. In the coming future, it will still continue to have an effect on everything from our lifestyle to the economy.

There will obviously be new challenges and we will have to find new ways of dealing with them. The truth is that, no matter how bad the situation gets, there’s always a silver lining. We’ll just have to wait for the grey cloud to pass.

Lockdown has not been that bad for a lot of people. We’ve learned new skills and become more independent. There’s been a rise in the use of technology. And, how can we forget about the clean air and rivers?

hope for future
Since there is no decline in the incidences of coronavirus, keep your mental health on a check. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Also, read: Looking on the bright side: Here are all the positives of the covid-19 lockdown

With the covid-19 graph rising exponentially every single day, the situation doesn’t seem to get better. There’s no doubt that we’re tired of spending most of our time within our homes and taking so many precautions can get frustrating but the truth is that we need to keep at it to save ourselves.

To find the ways to be hopeful amidst this crisis, we talked to Dr Samir Parikh, the director and head of the department of mental health and behavioural sciences at Fortis Healthcare.

How can you stay hopeful amidst a pandemic and an economic crisis?
In times like this, it is challenging to imagine a future where everything is uncertain and ever-changing. Dr Parikh says, “It might feel uncomfortable at first to imagine a better future, but pushing ourselves to do so is the only way to maintain our mental well-being.”

Dr Parikh points out different ways in which you can deal with your worrying thoughts:

1. Understanding your trigger points is important
“Start with understanding your anxiety. What is it caused by? Then, you can go ahead and work on them to avoid the triggers,” says Dr Parikh.

2. Try to mitigate your anxiety about catching the virus
Dr Parikh continues, “If you are anxious about catching the virus, try taking all the preventive measures you can take. Be responsible and follow all the guidelines. Once you’re satisfied with yourself, you’ll be less anxious.”

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3. Learn to accept the uncertain future
“Try avoiding news that triggers you, whether it is about the rising covid cases or about the economy. If it triggers you, then simply avoid it. This is the best you can do,” says Dr Parikh. “The other thing that you must do is try accepting the uncertainty. Worrying about something which is not under your control will make no difference. Rather, try living one day at a time,” adds Dr Parikh.

4. Invest time in yourself
Dr Parikh suggests splitting your day evenly between your working and non-working hours. This will give you time to do what you like and enjoy. Invest your time in the things you like, it will make you optimistic in the long run. Once you accept that things cannot be under your control, you’ll feel better.

hope for future
Do what you like as it can lift up your spirit to a great extent. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Once you’re sorted with your thoughts, you can try doing these things to stay hopeful:

1. Stay productive
“When you’re busy, there is the scope of reducing negative thoughts. This further helps you become optimistic by focusing on what you’re doing today rather than worrying about the future,” says Dr Parikh.

2. Indulge in things you like
Picking a new hobby will keep you avoid the noise and will make you feel good about yourself. When you start feeling good about yourself, you’ll be more confident and about your future, no matter what.

3. Talk to people
Talk to your friends and family. This will keep you happy and motivated. Having a strong support system will also give you the strength to fight the negativity. So, keep your close ones closer!

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4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Just like a healthy mind facilitates a healthy body, a healthy body will also facilitate a healthy mind. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes proper diet and exercise, will ensure your hormone levels are balanced and you’re not too stressed.

5. Start focussing on today
Instead of focussing on tomorrow, start focusing on today. This will give you some purpose in your life. You might not know what you’re doing two days after but you know what you’re doing today, right?

The current pandemic has made things change pretty fast and the future can be unpredictable. Does that mean we should give in to the circumstances and keep feeling hopeless? Absolutely not! In the past, we all have overcome situations like this and we’ll continue to do so, only if we all have hope!

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Shreya Gupta Shreya Gupta

Finding nirvana in good food, Shreya also loves reading books and is a die-hard Potterhead. Confident and motivated she's fun to be with. Plus food. Always.