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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

One day good, one day bad [Wise Wednesdays]

UK weather is never guaranteed. More often cloudy than not. It’s famously moody…

Since the start of the war, I’ve noticed my mood fluctuate more.

One day good, one day bad.

That’s fine. Problems only arise if we get caught in our moods.

The key is to not get caught.

Either way, the mood will pass.

In Buddhism it’s called impermanence.

A good mood will pass.

A bad mood will pass.

But what if you do get caught?

Perhaps you get caught in a bad mood and suddenly the world seems like a gloomy place where nothing will ever change. Conversely, you might have a good day and feel that everything’s going to be great from now on. You’re on track and nothing will ever disturb you again…

Moods have less to do with reality and more to do with the inherent fluctuations of the mind.

But if you’re caught in a mood, it’s hard to see beyond it, right?

In quantum physics, this border effect on reality is called the Heisenberg Cut. You can’t access one reality if you’re caught in another. Or by analogy, you can’t access your happy reality on Tuesday from your gloomy reality on Wednesday. Whatever mood you’re wearing filters out the full information.

Physicists are working on this problem…

And, happily, we already have solutions for this mental filtering quirk.

When I worked at the UK Department of Health, the statistics we worked with were that 1 in 4 people have a mental health issue (non-clinical anxiety or depression). This month, the World Health Organisation reported that the pandemic had increased the global prevalence of anxiety and depression by 25%.

What does this mean for you?

Well, it means that on any given day, either you or the person in front of you is likely to be experiencing mental distress.

If you really take in that fact, what do you notice?

I try to remind my clients that if they’re managing to function normally right now - let alone lead teams, produce ideas and relate competently in the hybrid world - they’re probably overperforming. They’re performing an incredible feat of humanity. And I’m sure you are too.

However, remember to increase your level of support and self-care in times of stress, even if it feels indulgent or counter-instinctual – even if your mind is saying: “you don’t have time”.

Things that can help:

1) Mind your language: notice how you talk and think to yourself. Get a handle on this. Get professional help if necessary.

2) Mind your mental diet: notice what you’re feeding your mind e.g. doomscroll news versus soothing music and helpful reading.

3) Mind the basics: diet, exercise, sleep, connection. HALT – if you’re feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, deal with these first before making any big decisions or pronouncements about the world and your life.

Right now, if you’re getting up, doing some work, caring for others and not starting a war or lashing out at someone, you’re a hero.


Have a good week,


[Photo: a sunny day in London]

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