Avoiding depression in times of curfew – Day 5

“Today will be a good day” – my mantra for today, because I have plans. I like to look forward to things and so I have made some nice plans. Especially the plan to continue doing Instagram live sports, because I already have sore muscles from yesterday. Oh dear. There are now funny videos about the physical consequences of quarantine. I record everything that distracts me and makes me laugh, because when I think about the fact that the strict curfew here will be extended for weeks, I get depressive thoughts.
Whereby slowly my attitude to the situation changes. I almost have the feeling that I get more and more used to this calm. What remains when consumption and distraction become rare? How satisfied am I with myself and what I do? My own thoughts can drift in positive or depressive directions. And that’s exactly why I’m going to do a new exercise starting today, which will help very quickly to give your thoughts a positive direction again.

The Positive Diary

This exercise is very simple, but very effective. It`s very effective if you do it every day. Then the positive effects on your mental health are enormous.
Take a few minutes every evening and write down on a piece of paper all the positive thoughts, feelings and experiences of the day. The more you can think of the better.
Here, for example, is an excerpt from my list for today:

  • I had my first espresso in bed. It feels like luxury.
  • I had a delicious fruit breakfast, it gives me energy and makes us feel healthy.
  • I sent a good friend the photo of my breakfast and she sent me hers. I feel connected with her and I am happy.
  • I was sitting at the open window in the sun, the warmth just feels good.
  • This morning I was able to concentrate very well on my work. I am a little proud of myself.
  • I listened to DJ Carlos live via Instagram again today. Knowing that this is live and also listening to others feels like real life.
  • A friend sent me a bad corona joke. Nevertheless I had to laugh heartily.
  • My dog brought my sock to my desk and looked so cute that I gave him some treats. Yes, I am inconsistent in my dog training, but he makes me smile.
  • etc.

My list today is already so long and the day is not even over yet.

Add as much to your list as you can think of. Everything positive of today. When you are done with your list, please read each item again and feel the feeling. Let this feeling spread through you. Enjoy the feeling once again. Do this exercise every day if possible.

How works the positive diary?

This exercise helps to prevent depression. That is why I think this exercise is a good support to get through quarantine or curfew psychologically well.

That this exercise works so well is due to the following phenomenon. Our neuronal connections in the brain shape our perception and vice versa our perception shapes our brain structures. This forming process takes a few weeks. In concrete terms, this means that if we are sad and desperate for several weeks and focus our attention mainly on the sad and bad, then over time the structures in our brain change in such a way that we perceive sad and depressing things more and more. The more we perceive sad and depressing things, the sadder and more depressed we become. You see, it’s a vicious circle.
Fortunately, this vicious circle can be broken, or you can make sure that you do not get into a negative vicious circle in the first place. With the Positive Diary you actively direct your perception towards positive things. The more you perceive positive things, the more your brain learns to perceive positive things. The more your brain perceives positive things, the more positive your mood becomes. With a positive diary you can gradually change your neural connections and your mood in a positive way. Studies have shown that with daily exercise, changed brain structures can be detected in the MRI after only 6-8 weeks. How cool is that?

Have fun shaping your brain and THANK YOU MUCH also for the many personal messages on the blog! Feel free to write your tips, favourite songs, links or comments on the tips here – then everyone will benefit. Stay healthy and grateful 😊.
And for all those who want to shape their body too, here’s another tip: Live-Zumba with @mginellorente on Saturday, 21.03.2020, 10h (Tenerife time).

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