WHAT IF EVERYTHING TURNS OUT FOR THE BEST?
The only word on everyone’s mind lately, is ‘Corona virus’. Our everyday routines, schools, businesses and the world as we know it came to a screeching halt, all for this enigmatic, invisible adversary we still do not entirely understand. Anxiety ends up being the most common response the world has towards this problem. This emotion — a bi-product of fear and uncertainty, has the power to overtake our rationality and bring tension and panic into our lives. It can lead us into making illogical decisions and propel us into negative reinforcement loops that keep us in its panicked grasp.
Finding The Balance Point
What is the most conducive use of our intellect during this lockdown, and how can we get back our calm and clarity? So, let’s unpack anxiety together and understand why we have this very natural fear response.
It was on my birthday the 23rd of January 2020, that I read on the news “…the city of Wuhan, China has gone into a complete lockdown”. A mysterious respiratory disease has started to override its healthcare systems, and now its citizens must remain quarantined indoors. The Chinese government enacted measures which were then considered to be ‘draconian’ and shocked the rest of the world about the gravity and severity of this highly contagious illness.
In the coming weeks, masses of people all around the world would resort to their fear impulses which included panic buying, obsessive information gathering, compulsive disinfecting and stockpiling on toilet paper, masks and other supplies. News cycles report 24/7, with the latest statistics and numbers, further launching minds into panic mode, as we all looked for answers to the safety and security of our families and businesses.
However, we soon found that no amount of hoarding, disinfecting and social distancing would bring respite to our fretful minds. We realized that nothing could diminish our families’ risk of contracting the disease to zero. On top of all this, our businesses start to take hits, and our careers became uncertain.
The information that we get from the government or the media never seems to be enough to quell our insecurities; sending our brain spiralling out of control with worst-case scenarios, further propelling us into worry and apprehension.
Throughout times of anxiety, our flight or fight survival response is triggered. Worry makes our prefrontal cortex go offline, and it becomes harder to think logically and have clarity in our minds. It is too easy to catastrophize and ruminate in our own concerns, especially when we become influenced by those with defeatist perspectives.
To find peace in these times, we have to condition ourselves to be okay with uncertainties, and to be comfortable with change. Even when it seems like our outer world seems to be coming undone, we will benefit from getting in touch with our inner harmony.
There is truly no better time than now, to come to awareness with the irrationality of our fear-based emotions. Worry only gives the illusion that we are doing something useful and that we are in control. The thought of “trusting the process” and “surrendering” troubles many, as they mistake it for “giving up” and “not doing their best”.
But it’s time humanity woke up to the fact that all anxiety really does is distract us from the truth. We could benefit from to channeling our energy and thoughts into doing something that really matters; to be part of the solution and not stew in the problem.
We Can Do It!
It’s time we recognize that crisis creates character. And that crisis generates opportunities for us to grow and to change. We’ve gotten so comfortable with our previous routines and habits that the thoughts of changing perhaps send shivers down our spines. Dear friends, do not underestimate our resiliency.
Our parents and grandparents went through world wars, poverty and hardships, and lived to see another day. Psychological studies have shown time and time again that we tend to overestimate how badly we’ll be affected by negative events and underestimate how well we’ll cope with and adjust to difficulties. Be mindful that we are more adaptable than we think, this will help to further attenuate our fears.
So let us accept our anxiety, and not judge ourselves for having it. It is a natural evolutionary process that all humans go through after all. Instead, ask yourself: “what is my anxiety trying to tell me”? “What hidden fears of mine does it elude to”?
Realize the strength in surrender, and the wisdom in trust and that we are always loved and protected by a greater power. The world is going through a magnificent shift, and it’s our choice to go along for the ride, or be left behind.
As we take action and help those around us, ensure that it does not originate from a place of fear, but out of love. Call our loved ones, share positive thoughts, share supplies, enact safety measures in your workplace and in your routines as to be vigilant with the risks around us, but let us do so with calm and clarity.
Do not let fear have the better of us. Breathe, smile and have compassion for yourself and those around you. While we are here in lockdown, take time to do what you love, and to practice introspection and self-care. Together, we can spread calm as the new contagion instead of fear.