Pooja Jauhari
Dec 28, 2020

Opinion: How to build mental strength while dealing with pressures of modern working life through challenging times?

The author lists her experience and how she built her mental strength during the pandemic

Pooja Jauhari
Pooja Jauhari
What mental health (MH) needs is unashamed conversations and absolute normalisation. That has been the biggest driver for me during this pandemic. I was open, shared my struggle and invited more to have an open dialogue around it. That was in my circle. This article gives me an opportunity to share what I have learnt and discovered with a wider group. 
The lockdown has been hard on me. Like it’s been on so many people. But as I worked through my struggles and my ability to channel this tension into productivity I discovered new resilience. I don’t have all the answers, what I have is a quick snippet on my experience and how I built my mental strength. A lot of the points below are things I learnt from my life coach, things I use in my everyday life. Things I fall back on, while dealing with my everyday tasks. 
Here goes:
1. This mind blowing formula I discovered called {E + R = O}. E stands for the event, R stands for your response and O stands for outcome. The logic of this formula is simple. As a person you may have very little control over the event, however your response to said event delivers the eventual outcome. If you control your response, in a way you have some control over the outcome. This has worked for me in difficult meetings, challenging situations at work and even during personal events. 
2. We all have an observer side and a doer side. Sometimes, especially when in the middle of mental confusion and crisis you need to recognise what you can control and what you can’t control. First observe the problem/s segregate them into – in your control and out of your control and focus on what you can control. I use this technique daily. It’s taken some mental training to just hang back when I have anxiety and try to find the root of that anxiety and solve it without setting into panic. 
3. Identify your ANT – Automatic Negative Thought. What this means is identify your triggers and learn to recognise what can trigger you so you have better control. It could be a person, a piece of content, a topic, a place or a combination of all. Train you mind to recognise triggers so you can better control your response and hence the outcome {E+R=O}.
4. Can you see your blindspots? i.e your weaknesses. If yes that’s great. If not, make an honest list. Acknowledging that you are not super human and have things you need help doing makes you more willing to work with others. Share your load and pick up some from others. Again a great way to start a conversation with people (colleagues/partners/friends even parents) about your skills and weakness. But this cannot be a one way street. If you ask for help, you must offer some in return as well. Acknowledging your blind spots makes you approachable and authentic. Offering help in return makes you a team player and a better partner. 
5. Lastly, I speak from experience when I say. You can build your mental strength like you build your muscle strength. A bit by bit train your mind to get stronger so you don’t give up long term ambitions to avoid short term easily solvable problems. This can be applied to almost everything that irritates you on a daily basis. 
I’d wrap this up using a quote I have used many times before. “All storms in life are not set to destroy you. Some actually clear your way”. This journey has made me recognise what kind of person, daughter, partner, mother, leader, citizen and human I want to be. I say this because mental health is not a destination. It’s a journey. It’s how you drive not where you are going.
(The author is CEO, The Glitch)
Campaign India

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