In the second episode of eShe TV, where we meet interesting women and learn new things about our world, editor Aekta Kapoor talks to Mumbai-based self-help author and happiness coach Aruna Joshi on ways to develop mental resilience during the pandemic.
Aruna studied architecture and was an architect for 18 years until she found her true calling in writing. She is also an artist, painter and designer. She has written for various magazines and had co-founded a spiritual magazine called Kosmic Journey along with her husband a few years ago. She has been on a long spiritual quest and has authored two self help books. She now counsels and coaches people on how to stay happy.
Watch their discussion here.
Here’s an edited transcript of the discussion.
Aekta: What is happiness and what does it mean to you?
Aruna: Happiness to me is a state of mind. We all work hard only in pursuit of happiness, but end up disappointed because happiness is not out there – in the car we buy or the house we buy or the promotion we get. These things are transient. So, if our happiness is dependent on these, it is also short-lived. Happiness is in the core of our being. We just need to reach there and find it. It is about turning within.
Let’s go to the other side of the question: what causes unhappiness then?
Happiness is our true nature. However, it gets covered by various beliefs, conditioning, the experiences we go through and the challenges we face while growing up. And we start looking for happiness outside of us. We do everything that will make us happy, however, we end up being unhappy in the process. We see the world as we are conditioned to see it.
Let us look at it this way.
You buy an ornamented, glittery brass vase and leave it unattended for a few months. Slowly the vase gets tarnished and the shine starts to wear off. What do you do then? You figure out how to remove the stains and restore the vase to its former beauty.We are like that shining vase – happy and joyful. Eventually we get covered by various layers of negative emotions, and beliefs that destroy our true state i.e. happiness. We need to find out ways to remove the erosion and stains. As soon as we do that, we are that shining vase again.
So we need to polish the vase every day to make its true essence shine. But what about people who are going through difficult times such as this pandemic? What is mental resilience and how can it help people going through tough circumstances?
Mental resilience is an individual’s ability to cope up and bounce back from whatever life throws at you. It is emerging stronger from an adverse situation that may have been causing a lot of stress. It could be relationship problems, health issues, financial crisis, loss of job, or even loss of loved ones.
When we go through these situations, our mental mettle is tested. Resilience is about growing through this and not only going through it.
Research says that intelligence and talent accounts for only 30% of your achievement. Rest of it is all your mental resilience.
What are your top three tips to develop mental resilience in difficult times such as this pandemic?
You must have seen that some people have this ability to gather themselves up and fight back through the worst of the situations while others take a long time. However, the interesting fact is that one has to finally adapt to the change life brings in, irrespective of its severity.
I believe each one of us is born with the resilience, the inner strength, it’s just a matter of being aware of it. And how do you do that? Here are three important tips.
I. ACCEPT AND CHOOSE YOUR RESPONSE TO THE SITUATION
This pandemic has given us one big lesson – that of acceptance. Covid came from nowhere and took the whole world by storm. Crores of people have lost their jobs, it has taken a huge toll on people’s mental and physical health, people have lost their loved ones. The world will never be the same again. But what can you and I do about it? We cannot change the situation nor pretend that everything is fine. What we can do is first accept the situation and choose our response to the situation.
II. REPLACE FEAR BY FAITH
Adverse and unprecedented situations often induce a lot of fear and insecurities. Fears and insecurities are nothing but our projected thoughts of the future. “What if I get corona?” “What if I lose my job?” “What if I become financially broke?” But mind you, all these things may not have happened yet or may not even happen. They are just our thought projections and they induce unfounded fear. This fear needs to be replaced by faith. Faith in the universe and belief in the self. Believe that whatever happens will be for your highest good. Believe that you are born with the inner strength that will help you through any situation.
III. TAKE AN OBSERVER’S STANDPOINT
When I was going through some difficult times in my life, I asked a spiritual teacher, “I just want to be happy and peaceful. How do I do that?” My teacher said, “Just look at everything in life as an observer. You are neither a doer nor an experience; you are just an observer of this great phenomenon called life.” When I thought about it, it made sense.
While going through challenging times, you will find yourself surrounded by chaos. During such times it is very difficult to think clearly. At such times, if you are able to lift yourself above the whole situation and look at it from an observer’s standpoint, you can see the situation in its totality without actually being in it. This gives you the space and the clarity and you can find a better solution to your problem.
When this pandemic started to affect me like everybody else, I adopted this practice. I calmed my mind and took a bird’s eye view. I realized that in the entire life span of 70- 80 years that I may live, this is only a small part. I thought, “I am a witness to an unprecedented event that has occurred in 100 years!”
This changed my perspective of looking at the whole pandemic situation, and I told myself, “This too shall pass.” Life itself is ephemeral. So what am I cribbing about? The joy lies within me and I can be as positive and as happy as I choose to be.
It is all about the mind. It will behave the way you train it.
eShe TV goes live on Facebook every Friday at 5 pm. Follow us on Facebook for updates.