Staying calm inside when the world around you seems chaotic can be very difficult. For anyone who recently bought a year’s worth of toilet paper in response to the latest crisis, this may apply to you. A little diligence is reasonable, but anxiety seems to be at an all time high and that can be followed by depression if we are not careful.
What can we do to keep a sense of inner peace? Well, first of all, it isn’t to deny the issues and bury our heads in the sand. That only creates a false sense of security for most people. All of our emotions are there for a reason. All of them, including anxiety and fear. Take a few minutes and explore what emotions you have about the events that are happening around you. Is it worry? Okay, accept that. Don’t tell yourself you shouldn’t have that feeling. You do. It’s normal. Once we accept our emotions, that part of our brain can rest and we can begin looking at the situation from a more logical problem-solving perspective. It’s when we deny or invalidate our own inner experience that we have problems letting negative emotions go. It’s as if the warning system in our brain has to get louder and louder in order to get our attention.
Second, once you’ve recognized and accepted the things you are feeling, ask yourself some basic questions. “What is the evidence that I or my family is in danger right now or in the very near future?” If the answer is “ very high”, do something to protect yourself now. If the tornado sirens are sounding and there is a giant funnel in the sky, immediately get to a safe spot in the lowest part of your house and stay there until the answer to your question is “low”. But if the original answer to your question is “low” then take a deep breath and ask yourself some more questions, such as: “What is the worst case scenario?” “What is the best case scenario?” “What is the most likely outcome?” “If the worst case scenario were to happen, what would I do next to cope?” And also “How many times in my life has the worst case scenario I’ve worried about actually come true?” If you are like most people, the answer should bring you some comfort.
Third, stop watching the news reports and social media that predict nothing but gloom and doom. All of those things are skewed to the sensational. They only highlight the worst case scenarios, and as a result add to the panic and fear. It is like a plane crash. If you stay focused on the hundred or so people who died you may never fly again and you miss the reality that thousands of flights and millions of people fly every day without a hitch. Avoid the sensationalized media that gains money from advertising revenue and benefit the most when more people sign on or log in.
And mostly, stay connected. Don’t isolate yourself from other people who can help you process what you are dealing with. Chances are others are facing some of the same fears you are, or at least they may have in the past. “Social distancing” is the phrase that comes up in relation to illnesses that are highly contagious, and it makes sense from a physical sense. But don’t socially and emotionally distance yourself from others. Keep connected to those supportive relationships in your life. That is one of the best things about our electronic age. If you are isolated because you haven’t been investing in authentic relationships until today, consider how Journey Coaching can help. Our passion is for helping people grow and connect.
By: Terry C.