How To Stay Calm & Live Positively During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Take a quick assessment of how you are feeling at the moment. If you find yourself holding on to thoughts, feelings and emotions that are not adding positive value to your life, then you will find this article relevant, timely and impactful as it outlines recommended steps to stay calm during adversity.
- The degree of uncertainty among us all is rapidly rising as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds around the world, increasing fear and anxiety in its wake.
- There is evidence that suppressing feelings and holding fear, anger guilt and resentment can be bad for you. Numerous studies are now linking prolonged negative thoughts and experiences to ill health.
Right now, we are facing a time of uncertainty, and with such abrupt changes to the way we live our daily lives, it can be scary! Life around you is changing, moment by moment, and when left unchecked it can knock you off track before you have time to even it’s happening. For many, including myself, times like these can cause increased levels of anxiety, stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed.
Throughout this message, my goal is to provide you with the tools and knowledge to help you face your stress, anxiety and fears that can be triggered by the pandemic. As we go through this together, you will find the power to reduce any stressors or triggers, and simply change the way you think. A positive mindset can increase your ability to feel love and hope during times of uncertainty.
What Are You Really Worried About?
Your Fear Is Just A Messenger.
Once upon a time, I was a worrier. I can fondly say that today, I am not that same worried person. However, that does not mean that I don’t sometimes experience worry or overthink things. If I were to be worried about anything right now, I would be worried about this: I am worrying about things that are simply out of my control. Do you see how that train of thought could easily tailspin?
Worry becomes so repetitive and destructive!
Here’s the thing– if the “sky is really falling”, and my time here is truly limited, then for goodness sake, I WILL be as present as possible! My time will be spent visiting, talking to, and writing to those people in my life who matter. I decided a long time ago that my time is precious, so I am using it by being focused on my present and on what makes me feel good. Spending my time worried about what may or not unfold, and giving my fears too much attention, is a hopeless waste of my energy.
The sky is not falling, but as a society we are facing something that is largely unknown and unpredictable. Sometimes it can feel threatening, especially when the conditions have brought about so many abrupt changes. The way we respond and react to the conditions we find ourselves in could prove to be pivotal and must be chosen carefully from a place of peace and love rather than fear and worry.
We need to repurpose and transform fear and worry into care, love and gratitude.
- Think about what you are most grateful for
- Pay attention to emotions and beliefs that weigh you down
- Use your time and energy to discover what brings you pain and fuels your passion
Think about it (pun intended), really think about it.
Let’s Press Pause… What are you most often thinking about when you stop and pay attention for a moment?
Would you say that your thoughts are based more out of worry, a sliver of doubt and maybe even a dash of pessimism? That sounds like a recipe for negative emotions. OR do you prefer a warming cup of hope, a slice of love, and a sprinkle of faith?
Now, let’s take a look at what seems to be a popular stream of thought these days: FEAR. Included in this frame of mind, the word “lack” is often found (worrying that we do not have enough of something).
Which of these resonates with you?
- Lack of enough food & supplies
- Lack of money
- Lack of access to social activities– gym, yoga, clubs, associations
- Lack of ability to travel and vacation
- Lack of health
- Lack of freedom to visit family and friends
- Lack of health care– dealing with pre-existing or new illnesses
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, just know you are NOT alone!
I’m sure you have heard the saying, “When things are bad, they only seem to get worse.” This can partially be explained by the law of attraction.
In much simpler terms: we attract what we radiate!
Can you think back to a time when things were tough? Did it seem like it was one thing after another, and there was no light at the end of the tunnel in sight? That’s how it works. Now think of it in the sense of positive thoughts and energy. When we think about the things we want, and put that love and hope into the universe, we are now able to attract or manifest these things. In short: do not focus on what you are lacking because you are now welcoming that into your life; instead, focus on what you are most grateful for and what you would love to manifest that would bring richness to your life.
The invitation here is to keep focused on the good. Stay present. Live in a state of gratitude as much as you possibly can. Align your thoughts with people and experiences that make you feel good and gently remind yourself to see the best in every situation.
Why Being Calm Is Important to Your Health
Let’s be clear about one thing: there ARE things in your control – your thoughts & reactions. On the other hand, there are also things out of your control – for example: the current pandemic and the world around you. You cannot create or ‘un-create’ what you are dealing with at the moment on a large scale, but you do have the ability to make the choice with respect to how you respond and what thoughts you let live freely in your mind.
FEEL BETTER NOW. IT MATTERS.
Thinking good thoughts might be more important than you realize.
When you are facing troubling thoughts, feelings and emotions, you are being invited to acknowledge them. Feel, sense or hear the message that they are bringing to you and then choose how you will deal with them. They come in the form of energy and the energy needs to be resolved and released.
There is evidence that suppressing feelings and holding fear, anger, guilt and resentment can be bad for your health. Numerous studies are now linking prolonged negative thoughts and experiences to ill health. Yet, even armed with this knowledge, many people live with a great proportion of their mind chatter focused on emotionally draining thoughts.
BETTER THOUGHTS = BETTER EXPERIENCES
Choosing to be mindful about your thoughts and reactions is the single most effective strategy you can choose. This will change your life for the better in EVERY situation life brings your way.
You can do it! Here’s how:
One of the easiest ways is to become more mindful of your thoughts and to be more aware of the impact they have on your life and your experiences.
Here’s the thing, whatever you are thinking at any given moment is giving your life the message about where to head next. A step forward begins with a thought and so does a step backward – consciously or unconsciously, this is the truth. This means you are one thought away from feeling better or feeling worse, from getting closer to your desires or moving away from them…
This is best described in this Lao Tzu quote:
Watch your thoughts, they become your words;
watch your words, they become your actions;
watch your actions, they become your habits;
watch your habits, they become your character;
watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
Becoming more mindful, in this case, simply means to pay more attention to what you are thinking. Once you are aware of your predominant mindset, state of mind or mood, you can choose to choose your response.
Here is a colorful way to look at thoughts/feelings/emotions and consider them as food for your soul. Imagine the emotionally draining ones offering you very low nutritional value, they are like junk food, and then imagine the emotionally uplifting ones offering you more nutritional value, like vitamins and organic foods.
REFLECTIVE ACTIVITY: Write down any of the words found on the below image. Compare how many words you have written down to explain your current mindset. Are there more emotionally draining thoughts and emotions on the surface? OR emotionally uplifting? Can you explain WHY each of those words resonates with you? If you can, then you’re one step closer to creating a positive mindset!
From emotionally draining to emotionally uplifting, your thoughts directly impact your life experiences and the trajectory of your emotional happiness and fulfillment. Of course, you can find yourself in any given moment somewhere along the emotional scale. However, it is important to get honest and connected with yourself and look at where you find yourself most of the time.
How To Stay Calm During The Pandemic
There is one thing you can have 100% control over during these unsettling times, and it is YOUR MINDSET. Sure, it’s easier said than done, but it is not impossible.
You cannot always control the emotions and feelings that spark your thoughts, but there are many things you can do to affect your mindset, your reactions and responses and ultimately the consequences you face as a result.
I remember a time as a business owner when things were very tough. I recall wondering how I would make payroll, pay my mortgage and utilities and keep the business afloat. There were many months where I am sure I lived in the bottom half of the emotionally draining section. I was hopeless and felt unworthy, shame, blame, guilt and doubt on a daily basis. I was a magnet for all things destructive. It took a life changing breakdown before I was able to turn it around for myself. I can reflect on it with much gratitude now, as I learned so much from this lesson and the pain I experienced.
When I began to see my thoughts as having nutritional value for my soul, it changed everything for me. I started to pay much more attention to my thoughts and how they were sending messages to me through my body. When my heart tightens or begins to race, I now immediately realize that I am thinking a thought that is very likely out of alignment and is low in value.
The take-away here is that sometimes feeling bad can actually be good for you. It sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it? When I am explaining this process in a more simplified manner to children, I explain it like this: ‘When you feel lucky, you’re really quite lucky!’. Your bad feeling is actually just a messenger telling you that you’re off-track.
It’s your intuition telling you to pay attention to the message. It wants you to recognize a state of disharmony in your emotional state. So, when you are pulled off your path (your place of peace and harmony), your thoughts can act like an alert system, your own GPS, telling you that you need to realign.
Here are some things you can do to resolve the energy that comes with negative, emotionally draining thoughts:
- Talk to a friend or professional about them
- Write or journal to increase your understanding of the message and how to release the energy
- Spend quiet time in prayer, reflection or mediation
- Go for a run or long walk in nature
- Do breathing exercises and/or yoga
- Avoid negative news and other sources of negativity
As you release your negative thoughts, choose new thoughts from the uplifting side of the scale to replace them. Look for ways to change your perspective and see things from a fresh point of view and with gratitude. There is almost always something worse that you could be facing. This realization alone plants a seed of gratitude for where you are in the moment.
And that brings us to another great coping strategy that comes with mindfulness. When you are examining your thoughts, releasing negative ones and their related energies and choosing better, more uplifting thoughts, you are now living in the present moment. This is the heart of mindfulness.
The past is over and cannot be changed and the future is uncertain, your peace of mind lies here in the now… right where you are. And in this moment, everything you can do to see beauty, hope, love, joy and compassion will serve you well. This is the key to feeling better. Find ways to embrace the current moment, to celebrate yourself and others and to give thanks for anything and everything you can.
It has been said that worrying is praying for something you don’t want. I like how that sounds and I choose to use the word care instead of worry and then I find a reason to be grateful for something related to the situation. This allows me to focus on what I want and then I am able to let it go. It doesn’t mean that I have an instant solution, it means that I am redirecting my worries into something more positive.
Here is what I know for sure:
- It feels better to feel better
- Worry takes you out of the current moment and puts you into a future moment
- You can only change what happens right now – in this moment
- Even in this moment – your power rests with your thoughts
- Your thoughts direct and become your actions
- Negative thoughts lead to negative actions
- Positive thoughts lead to positive actions
- Its simple in theory and can be difficult to embrace
- But most of all – it’s a choice – and it’s yours to make
- And the more you practice – the easier it is and the more natural it becomes
During times like these, when you feel like you have no control, the most important thing you can do is understand just how much control you really do have. There is a hidden gift waiting for us all. It offers us an opportunity to see things from a new perspective; it prompts us to reach for any gratitude we can find and it gives us a chance to step into every moment with more power than ever before. We can choose to see the best version of whatever it is that we are facing.