It is not just the body that has immunity. The psyche, too, has defense mechanisms against external threats.
But mental immunity does not make us invulnerable. It only gives the psyche the ability to absorb shocks to prevent dangerous injuries.
Painful encounters with reality are as inevitable as infections and inflammations. More often than not, they cannot be avoided.
But you can help your psyche survive the ordeal with as few casualties as possible by following a few simple rules.
Be prepared for trouble
There are three rules of physicist David Deutsch. One: Problems are inevitable. The second: problems are solvable. You just have to find the right algorithm for the particular situation. And third: any solution creates new problems that you also have to solve. But before you start looking for a solution, you have to turn on your mind.
In stressful situations, our limbic system, which regulates fear, anger and other emotions, reacts to what is happening before we are aware of it.
To reduce the risks, we need to shorten the pause between the spontaneous reaction and the activation of the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for self-control.
Find a simple and effective method in advance that allows you to quickly pull yourself together in an emergency. For example, use a simple breathing technique with short breaths and long exhalations—it triggers the parasympathetic nervous system.
Manage the flow of your thoughts
In the absence of a specific task, a passive network in the brain kicks in, and the ‘mind wanders‘. Rather than thinking deliberately, the mind is flooded with a flood of associations. This in itself is neither bad nor good. But in critical situations this flow can turn into a cascade of self-reinforcing negative associations.
Unlike conscious thoughts and perceptions, they have no specific content, but there is a powerful negative emotional charge that makes you suffer. It is impossible to control the wandering mind directly. But there is a way to set a general direction of travel.
Periodically train yourself to block the negative associations and direct your attention to the positive ones. In a critical situation, this skill will come in handy.
Perform social editing
This is what Alain de Botton, creator of the psychological resource School of Life, calls the process of correcting our social environment.
Communication is not a luxury, but an important mental survival resource. If you have an experience or an experience or something you want to share with other people, you can set up an Instagram account where you can post your content. You can also buy real Instagram followers to share and help more people.
We need contact with other people not only for support, but also for guidance. By comparing our psyche with others, we restore mental balance. Or, on the contrary, we lose it.
To remove false points of reference from life, de Botton advises to pay attention to what people put you off balance, and reduce communication with them to a minimum.
Acknowledge your vulnerability
A typical response to a personal crisis is a desire to be alone with yourself. And this is perfectly natural, as long as it doesn’t turn into prolonged self-isolation. Being withdrawn and silent is one of the worst ways to deal with mental problems. Talking through one’s experiences lessens the painfulness of emotions.
By hiding our problems from others, we deprive our psyche of this support. Fear of vulnerability is usually the culprit. This arises because vulnerability is often associated with weakness.
Try to move this notion to a different association, closer to openness. As psychologist Brené Brown says, to be psychologically vulnerable is to be open.
Treat yourself with humor
Mental problems are a serious challenge and should not be downplayed. But don’t exaggerate either—too much respect for the disease plays into its hands. What a horrible world it would be if we forgot to see the funny and ridiculous in it.
And in our mental conflicts with reality they are always there. It is no coincidence that mental problems so often become the subjects of comedies and jokes.
Humor helps psychologically to distance oneself from difficult experiences in much the same way as a third-person description of one’s problem. You can follow some people on social media, who make entertaining content.
Or share your content, and if you want a wide audience, you can buy instagram followers. Yes, it does not solve the problem itself, but acts merely as a painkiller. But it does work.
Stop underestimating your normalcy
One of the first signs of mental problems is the feeling that you’re not worthy of something: a good job, a relationship, good luck, the right to vote. At the heart of this mental distortion is an underestimation of ordinariness.
Recall the idea of the British psychotherapist Donald Winnicott, who proposed the notion of a “good enough mother”—albeit not perfect, but quite capable of being a mother.
You may not be perfect either, but you are good enough to be you. That doesn’t mean you have to give up ambition for the sake of mental health. But any start-up needs a solid backbone, and you have one.