People love new things. We pick a different vacation destination because we want new sights and experiences. We try the latest exercise class or eat at a different restaurant because we’re bored with our routine.
Our brains are hard-wired to enjoy new things. It’s part of our natural learning process. But the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put a big damper on our ability to travel or visit new restaurants.
So, as the pandemic stretches on, how can we balance the need to maintain safe practices and mindfulness while still fulfilling these cravings for new experiences?
Here is how to better understand how our brains work in this situation and how we can still feel fulfilled despite the current circumstances.
Use mindfulness to beat boredom and stress
When was the last time you sat and thought about the present? When we’re bored, we may be thinking too much about the future and not enough about what’s right in front of us.
This frustration can make your life feel even more drab during the coronavirus. Your mind craves new experiences, but you can’t get them. You start to feel stress and tension over events that are largely out of your control.
It’s time to stop this mental process. And mindfulness can help.
Change your perspective on “virtual” experiences
For now, we may be limited to online classes and virtual get-togethers with friends. But Dr. Bea says these interactions can be just as meaningful and enjoyable as in-person events.
Don’t view virtual gatherings as poor substitutes for in-person events. Reframing our virtual gatherings could help us enjoy them and experience all the benefits they have to offer.
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Focus on the good
Appreciate the advantages of technology. We can work from home and interact with friends and loved ones. We can even take classes online and learn new skills from home. These things weren’t possible during the flu pandemic of 1918.
But be choosy about how you use your time online. Instead of scrolling through social media for hours, beat boredom by learning something.
Taking an online class or working on a new skill or habit, such as exercise. This approach can help you focus on ways to better yourself, rather than on the things you can’t do.
Noticing what’s available rather than what’s not available is smart right now. Invest in your life and the real moments that you’re loving. Try to stubbornly refuse to feel sorry for yourself. There’s a very low payday for that.