If you're starting to feel mentally stuck during this time of quarantine and social isolation, try this easy exercise to recover your motivation and freedom of spirit.
The radical physical distancing brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak has many of us feeling like our lives are on hold. Time seems suspended in the narrow space of our homes and in the uncertainty of what will come after this, as if we were living a pause in the unfolding of our lives.
Just as there is almost no movement in the deserted streets, immobility has taken up residence in our lives and sometimes even in our will and emotions: Our projects are cancelled or postponed, and our goals and desires are numbed by anxiety or gloominess.
French psychoanalyst Jean-Guilhem Xerri explains, “A variety of manifestations are beginning to appear, ranging from unrest which evolves towards anxiety and eventually reaches an extreme; from irritability to aggressiveness and violence; feelings of depression; and lastly, addictive behaviors that appear or resurface.” On the strength of this observation, he invites us to rediscover interior mobility in order to establish a new equilibrium.
Imagining the future in order to better live the present
How can we regain “inner mobility?” For Jean-Guilhem Xerri, this involves two practices: remembering the past and projecting ourselves towards the future.
Remembering the difficulties we’ve already overcome helps us to conquer those of the present, while “projecting ourselves towards the future helps us to live better in the present moment with all its challenges,” explains the psychoanalyst.
“Imagining the future has a great value,” he says, “that of getting us back in motion, so we regain momentum, creativity, and desire.” Let’s simply ask ourselves: “Whom will I visit when freedom of movement is restored? What will be my first trip? What do I want to experience after this is over?” Our imagination can provide a wide range of choices.
It’s no big deal if the wishes we make fluctuate from one day to the next, or never come to fruition. The goal is not making commitments carved in stone, but rather reviving our desires, expressing our dreams, and finding the inner mobility that is sorely lacking at the moment. All of this has a beneficial effect on the present.
“Imagining the post-confinement period is a way of making it exist in the present,” Xerri says. So let’s give free rein to our imaginations!