With greater access to technologies and more individuals now declaring themselves informants or reporters, a wave of panic can be set off instantly with a simple opinion or post. How does anyone know what to believe? I may not know the answer to that, but I can offer some valuable advice on how to stay calm and not panic when you hear or read of alarming epidemics, such as the global sickness COVID-19.
Here are a few things that you can do to maintain your control and stay harmonious:
Don’t Punish Yourself With Guilt
Being human means feeling. Getting stuck on feelings is what can become a problem. Anxiety serves a purpose. In this case – fear of illness. Reframe this thought positively. For ex., desire to be healthy. Think of a word that is the opposite of sickness. Use a thesaurus if you must. Sometimes just focusing on this search can steady your breathing—even before you have found the word.
Find a Positivity Partner
Sometimes the anxiety is just too much to handle alone. It happens. Choose someone who will help distract you, but who also can dive into positive space when needed. Set a code word with this person. I use a code word with my buddy, which means that all I need do is say “jellybeans”. My buddy knows immediately that I need her, and she knows her job is to get my mind off whatever is troubling me. We can discuss the actual problem later when I am in a calmer state. Sometimes we enter or return to the positivity zone by watching a silly movie or by going out for tapas and a glass of wine. Walks in the local park help when the weather is right. Choose a buddy and find what works for you.
Limit Your Exposure to the Media
This one is a no-brainer; however, it still needs emphasis. This is a great app/site to help accomplish this—Freedom. The site allows you to block certain feeds/posts and to choose “no news” hours or even days. No news on the weekends is a great way to start. Another way to deal with the barrage of depressing news is every time you see something in the media (even though you are trying to avoid it) and it upsets you, choose a calm word that will deflect your thinking about it and take you on another thought path. Words that make you feel happy or conjure memories. For ex., Disneyland. Better yet, plan that trip to Disneyland or Bora Bora in your mind. Even if you haven’t quite reached the budget needed for this getaway, visualize it and stockpile links to take you to your positive getaway spot(s).
Get Grounded With Nature
Find some grass, take your shoes off, and walk barefoot. If you can’t find grass, the concrete beneath your feet will do. Putting your bare feet on the earth helps you reconnect and realign with yourself and nature.
Do Not Forget About Meditation or Journaling
One of my favorite and quickest meditations is the ancient Ten Finger Meditation. With eyes opened or closed, you stand in one spot, take a deep breath and touch, press, or pull each finger. As you pass each finger take a deep breath and say one thing to yourself (or aloud) for which you are grateful. It takes 20-30 seconds.
Focus on What You Have Control Over
You have control of things like your breath, your thoughts, your self-talk, gratitude, body language, fitness, diet and sleep. Do a quick check-in on each area here. You can identify/implement tools to get healthy sleep patterns in place. Look at what you’re putting into your body too by doing a nutrition and chemical check. You can also do things like carry hand sanitizer and wet wipes and use them when you are out and about.