As COVID-19 cases rise all over the world and general Coronavirus panic seems to be the new norm, it’s important to know how to keep yourself grounded and mentally strong. After all, an anxiety-riddled mind and a stressed out body lead to a weakened immune system, which is exactly what you want to avoid when there’s a global pandemic concurring.
Staying calm during this period of global crisis will not only help keep you healthy, it will allow you to better assist your loved ones and the people around you. If you are compromised and can’t think straight, you are no use to anyone.
Don’t get the wrong idea. Practicing mindfulness isn’t a way to numb yourself to what’s going on around you. There’s a certain contingent of people who believe “if you’re not panicking, you aren’t paying attention.” These kinds of people are, in general, ineffective actors who live and die by emotional extortion and expect everyone else to act like a chicken with their head cut off at the slightest hint of difficulty.
How to Remain Calm Under Threat of COVID-19
It can seem daunting, but you do have the mental power to resist the panic that seems to be gripping millions of people all over the world.
The benefits of learning how to remain calm under pressure are numerous.
- Clearer thinking, better decision making.
- Less stress, healthier immune system, less fatigue.
- Better sleep, more energy.
- Actions that produce results instead of reactions that produce chaos.
- Enables better long-term thinking patterns as opposed to fight-or-flight short-term thinking patterns.
- Balanced emotions so you can handle social distancing, isolation, or being cooped up with family members for weeks at a time.
When you have a balanced mind, everything becomes easier because you are no longer dealing with illusions and all of the misconceptions that arise from those illusions. You put less stress on the body, which allows it to function at optimal capacity. You can get more restful sleep and you can aid others with better decision-making skills. In general it just makes you more effectual, which is what you want to be in the face of danger.
It can seem challenging however, in this climate of uncertainty and a very real threat to our everyday lives. There is the economic instability, paying bills, dealing with your kids out of school, price gouging and lack of supplies at supermarkets, as well as the possibility of getting the virus itself. The list seems exhausting and if you lack the mental strength to deal with it, facing these challenges can seem insurmountable.
The first thing you must realize is that you can’t let fear rule over you. Anxiety doesn’t solve problems or make you feel better.
The perception is that it’s easy for someone who is mindful to say, “just don’t have anxiety. See how easy that is?”
But you must understand, your anxiety and fear is under your control and always has been. If you aren’t the arbiter of your own mind and emotions, who is?
Meditate on that question if you feel you are not the one in charge of your thoughts and emotions and you will see the absurdity.
You have the mental strength to get through this. And I’m going to prove it to you.
It’s important to open a space for yourself to allow peace and control to set in. If you tell yourself this is “out of your control,” it will be.
Form follows thought. The mind will make it so if you instruct it to repeatedly.
Here are some concrete actionable steps you can take to immediately seize control of your situation and “destress”:
- Begin by switching the way you breathe. This may sound simple and even irrelevant, but breath plays a huge role in how you regulate your thoughts, brain chemistry, heart rate, and even your energy. Take note of how you are breathing and purposefully start breathing slow and evenly through your nose, filling your diaphragm. Pause and hold between breaths for a few seconds if you have to. The mind and body bend to the breath. Use it to regulate yourself.
- Work on understanding the “gap” between you and your thoughts. You are not your thoughts, nor are you the reactions to those thoughts. Whenever you find yourself “thinking” something fearful or negative, remind yourself about the gap that exists between you and the thoughts. Observe the thoughts quietly in your mind and do not attempt to suppress or crush them. Instead, allow them to exist and pass of their own accord. Once you observe the gap, negative thoughts tend to crumble because it’s your association with them that allows them to persist in the first place.
- Remain in the now. Only the present exists, and is where you have the power to create change. Don’t waste time worrying about the past (previously made decisions) or the future (decisions you haven’t made yet). Neither is an effective course of action.
- Limit your intake of processed sugars, caffeine, alcohol, and similar substances. In a time like this, you need bodily equilibrium. If your body is off balance, you mind may suffer as well. Remember, what you eat directly affects brain chemistry.
- Understand that you can’t control other people and you shouldn’t try. Don’t get mad about the lady buying up all the toilet paper, don’t waste time wondering why politicians are making the choices they are, stop investing your expectations that other people will act rational. Expectations are poison. The only person you can control is yourself. This includes your family and children as well. The less you worry about controlling other people, the more you will be able to control your Self.
- Wash your hands and sanitize your living space, but don’t turn into an obsessive-compulsive mess. Regardless of what you do, there is a high likelihood that within the next 18 months, a good portion of the country will indeed get COVID-19. You can scrub your hands until the skin rubs off and hose your house down with Lysol but all it takes is one kid sneezing near you in the market for you to get it. Don’t be paranoid, don’t waste time overreacting, work on accepting the reality of things and being a source of strength for others.
- Stop blaming, shaming, and pointing fingers. If you find yourself doing anything like this, you need to sit down and meditate on your emotional reactions. Things happen, and not ever crisis is preventable. No one is to blame as far as your concerned. The more you focus on building yourself instead of tearing others down, the better you will feel and the stronger you will be.
Prepare Yourself for What’s to Come
Don’t wait around and don’t assume anything. Wild ideas are being thrown around right now and not all of them are logical or even probable.
The best defense against what is coming is a clear head, a strong mind, and “future-proofing” yourself.
For example, don’t assume that the government is going to cut a check to bail out every American home. We all might get some money, but it might be enough to cover one mortgage payment at best. Perhaps we’ll even get enough to cover two payments.
Yet the Coronavirus disaster could last a year or longer. As it is, between the stimulus package that the Trump administration is floating for the banks, hotels, and other industries, and the possible money for each American home, we’re talking about numbers in the order of 2 Trillion dollars added to the debt. The economy is already in shambles and won’t recover any time soon.
Now is the time for action. While you’re running around lost at sea, you should be hunkering down and cultivating a skill or finding some way to monetize what you know or what you can do.
A strong mind doesn’t give into chaos, it rises above and prospers.
In that regard, you should sit down and really take the time to think of a way you can generate a side hustle.
Babysit the neighbors kids that are out of school, buy a couple gardening tools and learn landscaping, write an e-book about something you know and sell it online. If there was ever a time to start a second or third form of income, this is it.
Rather than waiting around for relief that may never come, take the steps necessary to generate this relief for yourself.
It should be noted that no one said that taking such steps will be easy. But you should get into the habit of facing challenges and not giving into fear.
Easy lives create frantic minds.
Do hard things, challenge yourself, face your fears, and prosper.
Coronavirus Resources and Information
Want more information on how to manage fear and become more mindful during this time? The guides below should help.
If you have specific questions about the Coronavirus, the Digital Sages community is here to help. Here are some links to resources we believe are valuable:
Remember, the best defense against the virus, as well as the best offense for fighting it, begins with a strong mind. If you are panicking or have become stressed out or mentally debilitated due to the outbreak, you aren’t going to be able to help yourself or anyone you love, and it won’t contribute to a solution for any of your problems.
Taking actionable steps toward cultivating a strong mind is extremely important even in ordinary times. And these are far from ordinary times.
Stay safe and Rise Above.