I know a lot of worried people. This entire situation is unprecedented. Nobody expected it, nobody was prepared for it, and now we’re in the midst of an unusual and frankly distressing place.
Covid-19, aka coronavirus, is spreading. There has been a lot of disinformation coupled with the reporting of various and mixed truths. The risk, the severity, and the reaction have been confusing, disturbing, uncertain, and generally infuriating.
The highest office of government has failed us, plain and simple. Now, as they play catch-up and damage-control, there will be unnecessary deaths, panic, and a lot of potential badness to come.
How bad will it be? What will happen tomorrow? What’s next?
Nobody has an answer. Nobody. Projections can be made both from an optimistic and pessimistic perspective. As we isolate ourselves out of necessity our sources of connectivity that have, frankly, made us more distant will become key to keeping us close.
Now, more than ever, you need to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness brings calm and reason
The practice of mindfulness is to be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. But it goes beyond that. Mindfulness makes you aware of the self. It opens you to more readily encounter the spiritual essence that underlies the thinking, feeling, acting person that you are.
You are so very much more than the body presented to the world at large. What’s more, you are just as special, deserving, worthy, and precious as everyone else. Your health and wellbeing are of equal importance to that of anyone else, even in the middle of a crisis such as what the world is currently enduring.
When you practice mindfulness, you become aware of your conscious thoughts and feelings and the intent of your actions here and now. By being in the moment you can better pause and reflect on what is going on with yourself.
That will help you to then see how you can help others. You, me, and everyone else are interconnected. What harms one of us harms everyone.
That is why panic, distress, and irrationality do nobody any good at all.
If you can be calm, and maintain reason, you can share that with those you are in contact with. The more that this can be spread the less permanent damage the vast majority of people will endure in these tumultuous times.
No matter what happens over the coming days and weeks, and as a result of social-distancing and self-imposed quarantine, the other side will not look the same.
Change always happens
Change is a constant. Like it or not, everything is constantly in one state of change or another. However, the vast majority of that change is so small and infinitesimal that you miss it nearly completely.
Think about it this way. Every single time you take a breath you are not breathing in precisely the same air molecules as you did before. Why? Because they shift, move, and flow with your breath, wind, HVAC systems, other people, and on and on. The air you breath is constantly, always changing.
That’s subtle change. Until something gets introduced into it like a temperature shift, smoke, or some other factor. Then you notice it and recognize a difference.
After this experience, there will be many changes. Hopefully, you won’t lose friends and loved ones, but that’s not outside of the realm of possibility. But aside from that, the economy will be different (the stock market continues its freefall as of this writing), employment will be different, and it is entirely possible how people relate to one another on the other side of this situation will be different, too.
Why? In part, that’s change. It doesn’t care if you are sick, well, good, bad, or whatever. Change happens. Some of it is beyond your control, and this certainly counts in that respect.
Some of it is because this time of social-distancing, self-quarantine, and general social disruption will change people. When what you know is drastically changed it can potentially have a lasting impact on you.
What will that impact look like? I don’t know. I am not you just as you are not me. But what I do know is that you have some control over this.
Pause, reflect, and keep calm
The outside world will influence your subconscious mind. The internet, TV, news media, other people, and experiences work into your subconscious — especially when you are not being mindful of your conscious thoughts and feelings.
Let’s face it — people tend to not be mindful. It’s easier — or at least, it seems easier — to just go about day-to-day doing what you need to do. Get up, go to work, go home, rinse, repeat.
Now that pattern is, for many, going to be disrupted.
But you have a choice. You can allow your subconscious mind to absorb all the negativity, the raw fear, and distress — or you can be mindful and use your conscious mind to pause, reflect, and keep calm.
Is it really that easy? No. And yes.
Becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings via mindfulness takes practice and effort. But you can do it if you so choose.
Pause. Before you continue to soak in everything about the coronavirus and all the potential awfulness that could be, consider what you need to know and what you need to do. Take stock of where you are, what you have, and your current health — mental and emotional as well as physical.
Reflect. Are you healthy? If yes, then take the necessary precautions to STAY healthy. Follow the recommendations to keep social distance and find new ways to occupy your mind. Then, figure out what — if anything — you can do to help those who may be less fortunate than you.
Keep calm. Getting upset, panicking, and otherwise expressing frustration, distress, and fear helps nobody. It certainly does you no good, let alone anyone else. Continue to practice mindfulness to maintain your calm. Others may need you to help them stay calm, too.
But be smart and use common sense
I am an optimist. I believe that within a few weeks we will be able to be social once more. The seemingly extreme measures you are taking now can help prevent this thing from getting far, far worse.
Use your head. Common sense may not be so common, but it still exists. Follow the CDC recommendations. Stay home if you can. Maintain distance from people. Wash your hands. Treat everyone who delivers things to you, is still working at grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and such with kindness and respect.
Stay calm. Just breathe. And remember that you are not alone as you experience this topsy-turvy, disconcerting situation.
Yes, this experience may be scary. There is so much uncertainty, and so many unknowns happening all at once here. But when you practice mindfulness and remain calm you can and will get through this. You are stronger than you know. You can remain safe and sound and come out on the other side ready to face the new world that will be there.
You are worthy and deserving of health and overall wellbeing. Use your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter and we can help each other get through this craziness.