I’m watching this fear that’s spreading across the world and that seems more infectious than any virus.
We have the power to stop the spread of worry and fear! That power begins with taking care of ourselves. As we practice self-calming and returning to center, we bring that energy to our actions and our interactions with others. Starting by grounding ourselves, we can shift from worry to centered. Doing this empowers us to make a meaningful difference during this time of uncertainty.
It’s so natural for us to have worries and fears as the coronavirus spreads. We’ve evolved with a survival-oriented sensitivity to perceived threat. The coronavirus affects us at one of the most basic levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – our sense of safety and security.
While worrying can sometimes lead us to needed action, too often we find ourselves entangled in and impeded by it. That’s not inevitable though – and I’m saying that as someone who is a recovering worrier!
The Importance of Shifting Our Focus
It might sound odd to say that I choose not to worry, and that it’s a decision…but the fact is that we can choose how we feel in any given situation – even when our initial reaction isn’t always in our control.
~ Julia Barnickle, Don’t Worry — Be Happy
I’ve learned that we can shift our attention away from worry and anxiety to thoughts that support resilience and coping. This is a huge help to us and empowers us to be a source of help to others.
I know that it takes intention, practice and persistence to shift from a place of worry to a place of centeredness and calm. It’s a process to undertake with self-compassion, and to ask for help with if needed. Here I offer you thoughts and meditations that have helped me do this, and that I think will be useful to you as well.
Then see the resources I’ve put together that offer specific self-calming practices and practical, helpful information on prevention and preparedness. I think these will be helpful, too.
Thoughts and Meditations
You are not alone in your concerns. What you’re feeling is part of our shared humanity.
May our awareness of our own difficult emotions bring compassion for ourselves and others.
We can thank our worry and fear for serving a useful purpose. They point us toward useful action.
May we use our awareness of our emotions to identify useful steps to take for ourselves and others.
We can shift our attention from our worries or fears to a state of calm and centeredness.
May we focus on what brings us peace and supports our strength and resilience.
The resources below offer useful self-calming strategies and provide information on reasonable preparedness steps to take. Are there any you would add?
Self-Calming and Centering
A Simple Way to Worry Less and Enjoy Life More, Nancy L. Seibel
What Me Worry? Why Worry is Helpful – Sometimes, Nancy L. Seibel
Calm, Clarity, Compassion, Jack Kornfeld
A Power Meditation Exercise for Connection and Protection, Michal Spiegelman
How to Be Kinder to Yourself, Greater Good Science Center
Prevention and Preparedness
How to Prepare, Protect Yourself From Coronavirus, US News and World Report
My thanks to the Keys to Change Community members whose ideas and resources contributed to this article.