The Self-Help Protocol (English Version)
To start the self-help experience you need:
- A smartphone with the YouTube App;
- A cardboard VR headset. You can buy one here for 15-30 US$. If you don't have it, you can still use the virtual experience by moving the gyroscope of your phone/tablet;
- The 7-day protocol you can find below;
- A partner (warmly suggested but optional) to share this experience.
THE SUGGESTED USE IS THE FOLLOWING:
Use it for a week, two or more times a day
Depending on your level of anxiety. The idea is to try it in the morning as soon as you wake up and then again before going to sleep as an emotional regulation tool. However, if there are difficult times during the day, the Secret Garden can become a safe place to reduce emotional stress and start again.
Use it together with one or more people
It can be your partner, your son, or simply a group of friends, even if you’re not all in the same physical place. Doing the experience together and sharing the feelings and reflections induced by it can reconstruct the sense of community and reduce the differences.
Use it to reflect on your identity and future goals
One of the paradoxes of coronavirus is that despite being a problem, it can also be a unique opportunity. In fact, willingly or unwillingly, it forces us to change and manage new situations such as quarantine, close coexistence with children and spouse, lack of relationships, and so on. In this view, the Secret Garden experience can be used for clearing our mind, giving us new space and energy to reflect and cope with our dreams and explore what is blocking them. Given hereunder is the suggested protocol to follow after the first daily Secret Garden experience.
FIRST STEP: OPEN THE SECRET GARDEN VIDEO IN THE YOUTUBE APP AND PUT THE SMARTPHONE IN THE CARDBOARD HEADSET
If you click this link in your smartphone the YouTube app should start immediately. By touching the screen of the smartphone you will see this interface. By pressing the GLASSES button below on the right, you will see that the screen will split in two. When it happens, you can insert your smartphone in the cardboard headset and start the experience. If you have problems you can check this video for guidance.
Day 1: Fight Rumination
THE PROBLEM: Reflecting on the coronavirus and its consequences, and dwelling on them in one's mind is natural. However, to prevent them from becoming a fixation, one must learn to control them.
THE GOAL: To do this, start by changing your point of view. For example, try to imagine that you are a different person—a doctor who has to treat a patient, a politician who has to decide what to do, a nurse who has to support the patient in the last moments of life—and describe in writing the emotions that occur and what you would do. Then, try to describe in writing how you would vent the anger, feelings of helplessness, and/or other difficult emotions these situations can generate.
SOCIAL EXPERIENCE: If you want, you can discuss your feelings with your partner and compare them with his/hers to understand the similarities and differences.
Day 2: Awaken your Self Esteem
PROBLEM: Quarantine, by forcing us to always repeat the same things with the same people in the same physical space, can make us apathetic and reduce our self-esteem.
THE GOAL: To awaken it, list in writing the five aspects of your character and your personality that you own and appreciate, put them in order of importance, and discuss the following two points for each: why is it important and how does it influence your life and relationships?
SOCIAL EXPERIENCE: If you want, you can discuss them with your partner and check whether he/she shares the same vision or not and why.
Day 3: Awaken your Autobiographical Memory
THE PROBLEM: The lack of places weakens our autobiographical memory, leading us to remember always the same days and making us lose the memory of who we are and what we want.
THE GOAL: To awaken it, list in writing four moments and/or events in your life that have helped you to be who you are and a moment of the coronavirus emergency that you particularly remember. For each, discuss the following points: why are they important, what emotions did they elicit in me, and when have I experienced similar emotions?
SOCIAL EXPERIENCE: If you want, you can discuss them with your partner and compare them with his/hers to understand similarities and differences.
Day 4. Awaken your Sense of Community
THE PROBLEM: The weakening of the sense of community can increase our sense of loneliness.
THE GOAL: To awaken the sense of community, list the five most significant people in your relationships. For each, discuss the following points: why are they important, are you also important to them, and why?
SOCIAL EXPERIENCE: If you want, you can discuss them with your partner and compare them with his/her choices to understand similarities and differences.
Day 5. Awaken your Goals and/or Dreams
THE PROBLEM: The continuous sense of anxiety generated by the coronavirus emergency can lead to the halting of our daily activities, making us lose sight of our goals and aspirations.
THE GOAL: To awaken them, list in writing three concrete goals and two dreams/aspirations that you would like to achieve after the quarantine. For each, discuss the following points: why are they important to you, what do you miss to reach them, and what can you do now?
SOCIAL EXPERIENCE: If you want, you can discuss them with your partner to understand similarities and differences.
Day 6. Boost your Empathy
THE PROBLEM: All relationships always involve a giving and receiving. But to effectively “give” we must be able to “receive” the other's point of view.
THE GOAL: To do this, think about the last significant interaction you had with each of the five people you indicated on day 4 and try to describe in writing the emotions that you think they felt at that time.
SOCIAL EXPERIENCE: Again, you can discuss your emotions with your partner and compare them to understand similarities and differences.
Day 7. Plan your change
THE PROBLEM: Coronavirus, willingly or unwillingly, forces us to change and manage new situations such as quarantine, close coexistence with children and spouse, lack of relationships, and so on.
THE GOAL: You can try using this period to try to improve your life. Start by identifying in writing three aspects of your life with which you are dissatisfied. Then on a first sheet describe the possible solutions by placing them in order of probability of success and cost/opportunity. On a second sheet, identify potential problems and their impact. Finally, on the third sheet, identify the tools and/or information that you are lacking but which can help you reach the possible solutions.
SOCIAL EXPERIENCE: Finally, tear off the problems sheet and use the other two sheets to plan strategies that can move you closer to solving your problems with the support of your partner.