Global disasters, climate change, stock market drops, unexpected deaths…and the first COVID-19 case in Hawaii. In the same way that a virus spreads uncontrollably, so also can unwarranted fear cause you to imagine worst-case “what if” scenarios in your head. When we are in fear, we disregard the whole picture and focus solely on the alarming facts. If you have COVID-19 fears, especially now let’s make sure you are not over-worrying.
How do you tell the difference between the fears that are serving to keep you safe, versus the fears that are causing you to overreact? “Should I still plan that trip to Italy in September?” “What if we contract the virus?” “If we have to quarantine, my business will not survive and I don’t know how I will pay my bills.”
Beyond what you envision is going to happen, it is your perception of it that makes the difference in the moment. Master the present by wisely dissipating the fearful “noise” in your head. As we have seen, the Corona virus is real, and it’s taken a toll on human life, but like anything, looking at the entire picture, and putting things into perspective can put our minds at ease.
You have full control over the following: Your perspective. Your decisions. Your actions. Now is a time for all of us to amplify our power. If you’ve gotten caught up with self-created irrationality by focusing on the negative, now is the perfect time to find a balanced perspective. The more anxious the climate the more you have to focus on staying centered.
1. KNOW THE FACTS: As of Friday (3/6/20), the global snapshot according to WHO is that less than 3.5% die, over 65% fully recover, and 84% experience mild symptoms. At this moment, does your personal situation warrant the worry or fear you have? Of course, it’s important to prepare for the potential of quarantine, keep social distance, wash your hands often, don’t touch your face, etc. but remind yourself of the facts if your thoughts spiral towards unwarranted fear.
IN OTHER WORDS: Worry in proportion to the likelihood of whatever it is that makes you fearful.
2. ACCEPT THE SITUATION: No matter what happens, accept whatever situation unfolds. This means that you don’t blame and complain about who should be doing more or less (government, hospitals, officials, etc.) or jump to new catastrophic thoughts. Take care of yourself by accepting the news and asking yourself if there is anything you need to do to be effective and productive moving forward for you and your family.
IN OTHER WORDS: Take action on that which you can control as we move forward.
3. LIVE IN THE PRESENT: The virus was just officially confirmed in Hawaii. Go back to #1 and #2 often. Focusing on the worst-case scenario is like praying hard for what you don’t want.
IN OTHER WORDS: If there is nothing you can do in the moment, enjoy your day.
4. MIND YOUR FOCUS: Even if there is a 3.5% chance you will die from it, there is a 96.5% chance you won’t. If you do get it, though there is a 16% chance your symptoms will be severe, there is an 84% you will only experience mild symptoms. Focus on the positive facts of the present moment. Anytime your focus wanders ask yourself what you can do. If nothing, then keep moving through your day. Focus on what makes you feel better, not what scares you.
On another note, if your business in an industry that looks as if it is going to suffer financially, pivot now. Instead of worrying, work on Plan A, B or C to minimize potential challenges as best you can.
IN OTHER WORDS: Focus on the positive. Positive perspective. Positive decisions. Positive actions.
5. NO MATTER WHAT, EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE: The best thing about life is that there are two sides to everything. If there is pain, there is gain, and if there is challenge, there is always growth. Even if the worst case scenario happened to you, it will be so much easier to go through because support will show up that you didn’t imagine and there will be silver lining after silver lining. If you do contract it, know that it is meant to be, and the journey is to find the gains.
IN OTHER WORDS: Trust in your life, and your destiny.
FINALLY: Remember that you shape your reality by the thoughts you think and the words you speak. The more you worry and stress, the more you compromise your immune system putting yourself at a greater risk of getting sick. Keep your fears in check, even if those who have gotten caught up in fearful words and actions surround you.
No matter what happens, you will figure it out. Do not let others anxieties become your own. Just as fear is contagious, so also is a calm attitude. Be present and embrace gratitude for what is, and live each moment fully during these unprecedented times.