Know your challenge and approach with calmness

“People become inspired and expansive when they pull together to face a storm, flooded river, or other natural disaster” Paul Rogat Loeb

I know this is a challenging and fearful time. Pandemics are one of those unknowns that create a change in our life we are generally not prepared for. Emotions are on high alert and reactivity is in the driver seat.

As a person with a compromised immune system, I can relate to feeling the need to isolate, an action that is not at all unwise.

Here’s the deal. We can isolate our physical social contact without isolating ourselves from contact at all. Technology needs to be our lifeline right now. I know I am certainly grateful for how it allows me to connect with not only my clients and colleagues but my entire family.

I think the more important thing to discuss in this time is how we can stay calm and collected when all we seem to be feeling is fear and anxiety.

Start by knowing your challenge. This might seem like a strange thought as it most likely feels like a no brainer. Sure, the biggest challenge is to stay healthy and symptom-free. Basic precautions, wash hands, don’t touch your face, avoid touch contact, keep surfaces clean. My favorite…. If you do not feel well stay home, do not take chances with other people’s wellbeing, if you must leave your home wear a mask, have tissue, hand sanitizer, maybe even wear gloves. Because guess what, you never know who you may walk past that is generally more susceptible than the general population.

But is this really our biggest challenge right now? I can think of a few that are causing unnecessary distress and anxiety. Getting control of your fear and the impulsive actions it is driving is a biggie. I mean it is one thing to make sure you have supplies necessary to foster less physical interaction with your community, it is another to feel like you need to have a backstock suitable for an army. Think in 30-day increments for your household only. There is no real benefit to having all the supplies if your neighbors and community members then have none!

What I really wanted to bring to the table is the ability to remain calm.

Ask yourself:

• What’s MY part?

• What’s the responsibility of another?

• What can I do to improve this situation for myself?

• How can I help?

• Who can I help?

• Create a plan that supports your physical AND emotional health

• Consider personal precautions

• Contributing to social health

• Protecting financial health

• Maintaining your lifestyle (family, fitness, dietary, spiritual, personal development..)

• Seek support (mental health support is available via technology – no need to disengage or avoid seeking guidance)

• Keep your focus narrow (it’s the wide perspective and future tripping what if’s that insight anxiety), work your plan, be patient, kind and courteous.

Now to warn you, this isn’t anywhere as easy as it reads here in this blog. There is a depth to shifting into this ability. And we do a great deal of skill-building leading up to incorporating this one.

But give it a try. See how you do. If you find that you are running into a wall, call me, or sign up for the Learn to Live for Yourself program, I will coach you!

“When we work shoulder to shoulder with others for a greater common good, we gain a powerful sense of human solidarity.” “Rarely does social involvement place us in the path of destructive natural forces… but it does involve risk. At the very least, it requires us to make ourselves psychologically vulnerable. It impels us to overcome distracting habits and petty concerns, to challenge internal fears, … social involvement converts us from detached spectators into active participants. We develop new competencies and strengths. We form strong bonds with coworkers of courage and vision. Our lives become charged with purpose.”

Soul of a Citizen. Copyright 1999, 2010 by Paul Rogat Loeb. Printed in the United States of America. St. Martin’s Press, New York, N.Y. 10010.

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