Finding peace in a pandemicApr 10, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of our lack of control. We can’t control a virus spreading throughout the globe or its many implications, and we can’t control other people. As a matter fact, we can’t control anything outside of ourselves. The degree to which we attempt to assert control in these areas, we spend time and energy arguing with reality and judging other people’s actions, all of which makes us miserable.
Feeling Out of Control
These are indeed unusual and for many, unprecedented times. Many people are worried, concerned, panicked, overwhelmed, disappointed or fearful, to name a few.
However you are feeling, know that it’s okay. This is simply your brain doing its job, which is to keep you safe from danger. These days we have a constant input of messages that spell danger to our brains, which end up looping on fearful thoughts.
We Can Control One Thing: Our Thoughts
Being human means experiencing a wide array of emotions, some of which are negative. We don’t actually want to be happy about a pandemic, of course.
Yet it’s important to recognize that we have 100% control over our thoughts, which in turn create feelings, which prompt action or inaction, which generates results in our lives. It’s a cascade, and the good news is that we have full control over all of it.
Give thought to your thoughts
Look for the thoughts that are causing the feelings you are experiencing today and write them down. Ask yourself if those thoughts are true, and whether they are serving you. If you find that they are neither, create a list of alternate thoughts.
This is not to suggest unicorns-and-rainbows or head-in-the-sand thoughts, but instead useful thoughts, thoughts that feel authentic and believable to you. Try them on for size and see how each make you feel.
Because your brain is hard wired for efficiency, it will quickly and automatically return to the original thoughts. This gives you the opportunity to think on purpose the thoughts you’ve chosen instead. It takes practice and is so worth the effort.
Your Thoughts Are Autonomous
You get to decide how you feel – today and always. Don’t let others’ feelings influence your own.
Limit your exposure to the constant flow of messages that signal danger to your brain. Give your brain at least equal exposure to that which brings you peace – art, music, journaling, crafts, singing, needle work, knitting or crochet, nature, reading, movies, etc. Ideally, get the basic information you need each day and then flood your brain with peaceful inputs. Peace can be more contagious than any virus.
Teresa Amaral Beshwate, MPH, The Sudden Widow Coach, helps widows who have experienced the sudden loss of their spouse or significant other learn to live and love their life again. Learn more at www.thesuddenwidowcoach.com
This article first appeared at Sixty & Me
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