The instability in Nigeria is demonstrated in networks, politics, economics, policies, etc. There are hiccups in various areas that unavoidably affect the well-being of the people. These problems are there and they are undeniable. How you cope with these problems determines your well-being and self-growth.
So, imagine this period as a mountain, would you allow yourself to climb it or place it on your head? To step through it is learning to cope by taking responsibility and focusing only on what you can control while ignoring others. To place it on your head is to keep thinking of the worse experiences that come with this period, hoping it never happened, thereby denying or struggling with the reality.
In this article, you will learn about how instability affects the brain and how to cope better with the pandemic instability in Nigeria.
Experiencing instability in the environment can threaten our mood stability. This happens because when the brain is often exposed to unpredictable and unpleasant situations, it can trigger a range of emotional and physiological reactions, such as the release of stress hormones and the activation of the amygdala.
You can testify to the rate of unexpected events we face in Nigeria, some of which include, political instability, security issues, fuel scarcity, inflation, electricity challenges and poor network coverage. Experiencing all of these challenges makes it so difficult to predict what the country’s situation will be at a point in time, such experience can cause a decline in an individual’s sense of control. The adverse effect of this is the occurrence of specific psychological disturbances such as depression, anxiety, drug addiction etc.
Learning to cope with this instability is paramount to handling the stress, maintaining and enhancing our mental well-being
Here are some of the effective ways to cope with instability in Nigeria.
Sadly, we have no control over the majority of these situations (instability) but gratefully and wonderfully, we have full control over how we respond. We get to determine how situations affect us. Therefore, when you are experiencing a difficult situation, ensure you take time to acknowledge the existence of such a challenge. More importantly, allow yourself to feel the emotions that come with such an unpleasant situation. For example, with the experience of cash scarcity that no one had ever envisaged, the best and first thing you must do is to allow yourself to think that there is a problem of cash scarcity at the moment. The feeling of anger or disappointment will most likely surface, allowing the emotions to show up. Thus, let yourself feel the painful emotions. Doing this is helpful to the brain, it prepares the brain to activate the problem-solving area of our brain.
Self-awareness and paying attention:
After you have accepted the situation and related emotions as stated above, the next thing is to pay quality attention to your thoughts and emotions by staying conscious. This would help you to identify problems and available resources to deal with them. For example, this is a time for you to take time alone to gently process your thoughts, and then eradicate negative and irrelevant thoughts. At this time, you can ask yourself questions such as “what do I need to do to support my health at this time?”, “Which of my thoughts need to be changed.” This is also a time to focus your thoughts only on things you have control over while paying less attention to things that are beyond your control. The availability of cash is beyond your control, what to do to get some of the available cash is within your control, so focus on that. When you stay aware, you will activate the problem-solving area of the brain.
This includes identifying ways out and planning and implementing those action plans. For instance, you can decide to minimize your spending to save up your cash or find alternative means of getting cash to control the effects of cash scarcity in you. Another example is, to personally solve the issue of electricity, you can decide to save up some money to get an inverter or power bank to keep your devices running.
This is about being optimistic through thought regulation with positive self-talk and gratitude. This can guide and strengthen our focus on what truly matters to us. This also energizes our brain to process information in a functional manner that support our wellbeing.
You can only adjust after you have accepted the situation, pay attention to your needs, and identify solutions. Adjustments sustain your positive mindset and solutions. To adjust, you need to stay mindful and demonstrate some self management skills which will help to stabilize your moods through the change process.
Use the media responsibly:
Don’t share negative news and confirm sources of news before you believe. This helps to prevent or reduce feelings of anxiety.
Ask questions and be open-minded to try other solutions.
Lastly, make efforts to put all of these into practice and you will maintain emotional stability and mental wellbeing even in the face of the most unstable society.
If you find it difficult to practise any of these, you may be experiencing some psychological distress that require professional intervention, please do not hesitate to seek for help by speaking to one of our mental health professionals at Arogi Trauma Care Foundation.
Arogi Trauma Care Foundation (ATCF) is like the silver lining in a dark cloud, making free counselling and therapy accessible to traumatised individuals, bringing healing to those who are hurting and helping people lift up burdens of pain, Read More>>