As I write this, the Coronavirus is sweeping across the world. I’m in Mallorca, which is in lockdown, much like most of Europe. There’s panic, erratic behaviour, a lot of fear inducing facebook chat and silence as the whole island grinds to a halt.
The virus, like many fear inducing situations, shows us how easy it is to get caught up in our emotions. That many of us aren’t aware when we sway over into fear, and very few of us can bring ourselves back to calm and logic when these emotions are high.
What I want for you to take from this blog today is the message of how useful it is to your wellbeing to become aware of how you feel and to practice bringing yourself out of those undesirable emotions and back to a place of calmness, clarity and clear thinking.
This is empowerment.
And Now is the perfect time to practice (I mean, how else are you spending your days if like me, you’re in isolation).
- Check Your Sources Of Information
Whether you are in a country participating in lockdown or not, it’s undeniable that the panic hype is real. Much of this is driven by uncertainty, hearsay and less than educated opinions of friend or foe on social media. Right now, there is no time better than this to start questioning your sources of information.
What credibility does the person bringing you this ‘news’ have to tell this story?
Are they bringing you the story with added dramatic voice tones, exaggerated circumstances and scary future scenarios? If so, can you ignore all that and find the truth in the message?
Can you get this same message via two more independent sources of information? If not, can you take it with a pinch of salt?
Start questioning the manic sharing of scare mongering information openly, so others can realise that they’re not questioning their sources either. Many of us don’t question information before we pass it on, and this is a part of the problem when it comes to spreading mad panic across societies. Be the first. Start questioning.
2. Slow Down and Take a Breather
Are you finding yourself feeling panicked and running away into the world of ‘what ifs’? If so, slow down, take a time out, get a cup of hot something (tea is my thing) and breathe. It’s easy to run away with a chain of thought which is purely speculative and fuelled by fear. However, whether or not there is truth in what you fear, allowing yourself to dwell in that fear doesn’t help you. In fact, it’s actually counterproductive to your overall wellbeing and will most likely leave you feeling like you don’t have any power to change your circumstances – all of which isn’t true at all.
Ask yourself these questions – when you’ve felt really fearful about something happening,
Has it ever actually happened the way you feared that it would?
Did you deal with the situation and continue to live your life? (I mean, you’re here reading this blog right?
Did feeling the fear and sinking in to it, and thinking of all the possible situations, things that could be said, done etc, actually prepare you in any way in the moment that the thing happened? – Probably not is what I’m suspecting here.
What I’m trying to demonstrate is that this speculative fear and the panic that ensues is pointless. Even if your what if turns out to be right, often the way we act in the moment is completely different to how we thought we would, so the only thing that we’re left with is the ego acknowledgement of ‘I knew this would happen’. Are the bragging rights of saying that sentence worth the fear you feel and how much energy, space and time it occupies in your life?
3. Is This Bringing You Joy Right Now?
Personally, I’d like to spend my life enjoying it rather than feeling fearful of ‘what if’ speculations so I try to inventories my thoughts, feelings and actions as much as I can by asking myself one simple question.
Is this bringing me joy right now?
If the answer is no, then I make the moves to get out of that thought pattern, conversation, or situation. Pronto.
An example of when I ask myself this is when I’m lost in the thought pattern of a speculative argument. I might be thinking like this because I’m worried about how someone will react when I set a new boundary. I’m literally trying to run through all the situations of what could be said so I can try and prepare myself for how I’ll react. Yes, as I just pointed out – it’s pointless to do this… but I’m human too so I still can find myself lost here.
The thing is that when I ask myself if this thought pattern is bringing me joy, I suddenly become aware of how I feel – that my body is tense, and my face might have an angry expression on it, that I feel angry and upset and vulnerable inside. Knowing that I don’t want to dwell on those feelings motivates me to let go of the thought pattern and instead choose to think of something that brings me happiness instead. Usually things that I am grateful for in the moment or day dreaming about all the amazing possibilities that can happen in life.
If you’re wondering what I am feeling in this time of lockdown and quarantine, it’s this…
I’m grateful that I’m in Mallorca, my home base, with my friend and her son. Grateful that we have running water, access to heating, and the internet as well as lots of books.
I’m happy that we have food in the fridge, some great cookery books and a fully stocked kitchen of appliances so that we can spend time making beautiful meals.
I’m excited about the ways that we can use the time and the space that we have available to us right now. That I can create some more content for my blog and YouTube. That I can finish the audio books that I left behind earlier this year. That we can do workouts in the lounge. That we can play with the toys we have (with or without my friends toddler). That I can practice meditating every day. That we can do odd jobs around the house that often get left.
There are so many ways to flip our perspective on a situation, and by doing so we can find the peace in the panic. So I invite you to find your place of calmness within this, and trust me, your mental health will be grateful for it.
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Sending calming, positive and healthy vibes,