A positive mindset can help improve the health and well-being of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) patients, advises Sarah Belouidiane, a senior psychologist at Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC).
Covid-19 patients are inclined to suffer from depression once they learn they are infected, as they expect to be socially isolated and deprived of their regular lifestyle routines, she says.
“Mental disorders can negatively affect a patient’s immunity and lead to increased stress when following daily news and updates of increased infections and deaths due to the virus. There is a need to create a positive mindset for Covid-19 patients through constant reinforcement of their improving health condition and by stating examples of those who were infected but defeated the virus. This improves their emotional status and, thus, strengthens their immune system,” she points out.
Belouidiane explains that there are external and internal sources that drive your thinking.
“That which comes from the external source, such as your five senses - the ability to hear, touch, see, taste and smell - is what activates ideas in your mind,” she says. “For example, following news about the impact of Covid-19 can be a source of negative thinking, similar to how watching horror or emotional movies can activate thoughts of fear or despair. The olfactory senses can produce the opposite – a pleasant aroma or fragrance can activate happy memories and positive thinking, thus leading to positive feelings."
The internal source includes memories of the past and the desires and dreams for the future. According to Belouidiane, the secret behind controlling negative thoughts is to ask 'how?' rather than 'why?'.
For instance, she says you should avoid asking questions such as 'why am I sad, poor, afraid or a loser?'.
"Rather, every morning, ask yourself: 'how can I be rich, cheerful, calm and happy?', she says.
"The 'how' question shifts your mind’s focus from the problem to the solution. Be careful what you focus on,” Belouidiane adds. “These thoughts will expand and grow according to the ‘Law of Focus’, one of the most important laws of the subconscious mind, which covers all aspects of our life - health, money, relationships, work, etc.
“When you focus on your weaknesses - insomnia, cold, numbness, muscle pain or back pain - and if you’re always complaining about these symptoms, what you focus on and speak about will increase. In contrast, if you focus on the healthy and strong parts of your body and feel grateful for it, your health will improve, and you will feel energised and at peace.”
Belouidiane says the PHCC is equipped to assist patients overcome their mental challenges. “There are modern non-pharmacological psychotherapy treatments that help patients at PHCC’s psychiatric support clinics to be aware of their mental patterns that cause and heal mental disorders,” she explains.
“For example, if a child loves his mother very much, and she dies while he is still young, he may develop a mental pattern that if you love someone, you will be abandoned, and concludes that it’s not a good idea to love.”
“Psychotherapy raises one’s awareness of his mental patterns - only then, negativity and suffering stemming from them will break apart.”