First published 15 October 2020

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease and borders reopen, it is timely to think about how we not only cope through the pandemic but thrive beyond it.

During our live webinar on Tuesday October 27, our panel of experts discussed the impact of COVID-19 on physical and mental health. The panel explored:

  • how the pandemic has exposed more people to stress and anxiety,
  • the opportunity we all have to reset the way we think about brain health, and
  • strategies we can implement to deal with these issues.

Watch the recording below.

Panel members:

  • Ben Poschelk – Personal and Professional Leadership Facilitator, MAXMentis
  • Professor Selena Bartlett – Author and QUT Neuroscientist
  • Adjunct Professor Michael Hogan - QUT Faculty of Law, School of Justice

Attendee questions answered by Professor Selena Bartlett:

1. How to identify someone around you needs help to get through stress without having to compromise their privacy or them getting upset about being asked?

This depends on the situation, whether it is a workplace or home. The most important thing is to know that it starts with ourselves and recognising whether we are stressed first. The most important place to start is being compassionate and to know that most people are stressed- at the moment - whether they recognise it or not because of covid-19 and the uncertainty it has created. With this in mind, we can create less stressful environments around the people you may see as stressed. As simple as a smile or asking someone to have a coffee or a chat- may help.

 

2. How can we train our brain to train other brains?

The first step is to learn more about how the brain works. To become curious about the role of stress in making the brain more reactionary. Listen to podcasts, such as the Thriving Minds podcast.

Brain health resources and tools are continuously being updated at Professor Selena Bartlett's Thriving Minds website.

 

3. Are there any books that you would recommend if you are interested in learning more about neuroscience and neuroplasticity?

 

4. What pathway would you recommend for a person that would like to undertake further study in neuroscience in order to bring this back into their industry? I have been searching for post-graduate courses in this area and haven't come across many

Contact Professor Selena Bartlett to learn more. selena.bartlett@qut.edu.au or phone 0488990965 for more information about courses. 

 

5. How do we talk to kids about COVID? Is it better to be direct, straightforward, and factual, or to make the story meaningful to them (e.g. using metaphor, fairy tales, or other story telling devices)? 

A well curated story book for children from the WHO.

 

6. How long should one leave their hand in cold water for best results?

Start at 10 seconds, then try 30 secs, one minute. There is not a prescriptive time- it is a tool to learn about how to train the brain to overcome our immediate response to take the hand out of the ice.

 

7.Thanks to you both for a wonderful seminar - very important topic. So, where to now? What do we need in order to move this forward? More research? Political buy-in? Education? etc - Keen to hear your thoughts.

Yes- we need systemic change, policy and a focus on prevention rather than treatment. For an overview article I highly recommend this article.

 

8. Could you please repeat the name of the course you referred to earlier?

Brain story certification course.

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