#12 Mental Wellness during the Pandemic

Dear LWS students, 


I hope you are all staying well. I came across an article in Harvard Business Review recently and would like to share a few points with you about maintaining good mental health during this time. 


Come into the present. If we are feeling anxious, our thoughts are probably focused on the future. These thoughts are sometimes powerful and we believe that the fears will come true. One way to lessen anxiety is to bring ourselves back to the present. Mindfulness and meditation are popular now, but they may not be suitable for everyone. An alternative is to choose five objects in the room (e.g., lamp, phone, computer, book, cup) and focus on them. They are sitting right here, and I am doing alright at this moment.  Breathe.  To prolong our focus on the present, think about how each object feels - the lamp is bright, the cup is warm from the coffee inside - and our worries about the future become less real in our minds. 


Let go of what we can’t control. We can't control the number of cases appearing in Hong Kong or elsewhere, but we can keep up with hand hygiene and maintain distance from others. Focus on what we can control. 


It is okay to feel what we feel. Everyone responds to a crisis differently. Watch out for self-statements like "I should not feel x" or "It is pointless to feel y, why can't I be more productive?" Having judgments on unpleasant feelings adds salt to the wound. Rather, try to name the feeling, allow ourselves to feel it, share it with others, and the emotion may change and lessen its impact.  


The full article can be found here: https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief


Hope this message is useful to you. Feel free to email me, Jeff, Ellis, or other colleagues in the College office if you are experiencing any difficulty. We may not be physically present in the office everyday, but we are still very much connected virtually and ready to provide assistance if needed. 


Take care,

Harold Chui, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology

Associate Dean of Students, Lee Woo Sing College 

The Chinese University of Hong Kong