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Afiqah Abdul Hamid discusses the importance of mental health on Valentine’s Day
Lockdowns can be lonely, especially with the extension of our recent lockdown coinciding with Valentine’s Day, a time brimming with expectations of love and romance. In this period of isolation, it’s okay to feel a little blue and many may feel anxious about having negative thought cycles. That’s why it may be worth checking out Ethan Kross, an American experimental psychologist, neuroscientist and author of Chatter: The Voice in Our Head and How to Harness It, who has established a technique for inspiring more beneficial internal dialogues.
Prior to the pandemic, we spent much more of our time with others, arguably acting as a distraction to thinking too much about our mental wellbeing.Afiqah Abdul Hamid
Lockdown therefore shocks our systems, presenting the perfect opportunity for negative mindsets to develop. Kross suggests that cyclic negative thoughts can be self-sabotaging and thus harmful to our mental health. To limit the damage of this, Kross urges people to try the method of temporal distancing. This involves thinking of ourselves in 10 years time and questioning if the negative feeling being experienced now will matter then. The approach is part of what is considered ‘adaptive reflection’ – a self-distanced and more objective way of self-reflection. One could think of adaptive self-reflecting as a child perceiving cotton candy as pretty pink clouds instead of candy.
The Kross technique encourages us to help ourselves first before turning to someone else for comfort or escape from our negative thought cycles. This can help us improve our mental resilience and reduce temptations of breaking lockdown regulations. His technique is significant in confronting our negative emotions which is necessary for a stable mental health.