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The upside of COVID is the human side - and why reflecting on this is good for our wellbeing

We’re living in unprecedented, and uncertain times. And we’re experiencing some intense negative emotions along the way (e.g. fear, worry, anxiety, sadness).


When things happen in our lives (like a pandemic), it’s normal to assume that the ‘event’ directly influences our emotions and behaviours. But it’s actually what we think about what’s happened, that determines the way we feel, and what we do. For instance, two people who experience the same situation, can feel completely different emotions based on what they think about the situation.


Our thoughts determine our experience of the world. And if they’re unhelpful, we construct a narrative, which over time can become negative and ultimately erode our performance and wellbeing. Once we recognise that our thoughts determine our experience, we realise there is an opportunity to change our thoughts, and thus change our experience of the world.


So, amidst the negativity of the pandemic, what can we do to build optimal performance and wellbeing?


Practice gratitude.

From a scientific perspective, gratitude is not just an action. It is a positive emotion, that produces long lasting positivity. It affects our brain, our body and our mind. Gratitude has many benefits, including improving our psychological health, supporting stress regulation, reducing anxiety and depression and increasing mental toughness. And we’re not saying that being grateful just once, will produce long lasting positivity. But rather, studies suggest that writing in a gratitude journal three times per week might actually have greater impact than journaling every day. Noting that the physical recording (i.e. writing it down) is important – it’s not just something you do in your head.


So, we sat down, to reflect on the things that are going well for workplaces as a result of COVID, and why. Here’s what we came up with.


We’re appreciative of what we had – we’ve realised the value of face to face meetings, coffee catch ups with our colleagues and informal “water cooler chats”.


We’re recognising the importance of non verbal communication – we’ve noticed the power of a handshake, a nod, or a smile!


We’re checking in with our colleagues more – we’ve realised how important these connections really are.


And we’re asking them meaningful questions – “How are you really?” “Are you okay?” "Do you need any support?"


We’re adjusting to the many communication styles and preferences of our colleagues (the introverts among us, who prefer receiving an email, as opposed to someone just approaching our desk, are rejoicing)!


We’re getting to know each other better – we’re having virtual meetings from the “home office” (i.e. lounge room, kitchen table), interacting with pets and children.


We’re building empathy – putting ourselves in the shoes of our colleagues (e.g. those that are home schooling, or who are in Victoria right now, with Stage 4 restrictions).


We’re improving our relationship skills – we’re chatting and interacting more.


We’re improving our ability to collaborate – we’re leveraging technology and social tools (and seeking the perspectives of those who would traditionally be outside our physical proximity).


We’re supporting life work balance with more flexible work arrangements (and challenging the perspectives of those who thought people couldn’t be productive unless they were in the office).


We’re building resilience – we’re experiencing so many challenges and setbacks, and building our ability to bounce back from adversity.


We’re realising what’s really important – we’re appreciative of our health, our families, our relationships and our ability to go about our lives ‘normally’.


We’re appreciating the importance of mental health – we’re realising how important it is to take care of ourselves, psychologically.


We’re getting outdoors – appreciating nature, fresh air and sunshine.



At MYNDLY we use psychological science to build wellbeing, for performance. We provide evidence based solutions for individuals and organisations.


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