It’s Friday the 13th, COVID19 is now officially a global pandemic and there’s no pasta or toilet roll in the supermarket aisles. I didn’t predict this when we started 2020 and the new decade!
During 2007-2010 I was plagued with anxiety. One of the crippling features was ruminating upon thoughts and worst-case scenario thinking. It would trigger anxiety, because I would try my hardest to not think or feel it. In doing so, I was holding it all in.
Step 1: Allow the thoughts and emotions to flow
Following the data on COVID19 feels a little like this. One of the techniques I learnt was to consciously allow my thoughts to go all the way to worst case scenario. If that happens, then what next? And then what? What is at the core of it?
If we apply this to COVID19, this is how it goes…
The coronavirus is coming to me and my loved ones, my community…the world.
It’s coming at an exponential speed: gradually, and then suddenly.
When it does, the elderly and most vulnerable in society will be disproportionately affected.
We will be in lockdown. Will we have enough food?
The healthcare system will be overwhelmed.
Fellow citizens will be treated in hallways.
Exhausted healthcare workers will have to decide which patient gets oxygen and which dies.
My Dad had a heart attack two years ago. How will his body respond?
It’s so easy to go there, to think through the negatives, the worst-case scenario. If you are feeling this too, please know that you are not alone in your thoughts and anxieties. Give yourself the time and space to think through them and notice any emotions building up. Let them out too.
Step 2: What we focus on, we create
Like a self-fulfilling prophecy. What we focus on, we create. If we keep our minds in this continuous negative cycle, we feel and show up worse.
What can we do instead?
One of the most powerful (and often overlooked) tools at our disposal is gratitude. A reflective practice at the end of every day. Think back through your day and replay three things that you are grateful for. Write them down if you prefer. They can be big things, but more often than not, they are small.
- The cat lay stretched out in a patch of sunshine.
- The secret smile from your son at school pick up.
- Fresh bread.
If it is hard to find three things to be grateful for, think to your body. There are parts of your body that a functional, that are strong. Focus on these.
Step 3: Stability in uncertainty
Anxiety craves control, certainty. But the only thing that’s certain, is that nothing ever stays the same.
We are the glue that hold our families together, our workplaces, and our communities. Use gratitude to stay positive, to find the best in challenging situations.
Sending good thoughts to you and your corner of the world.