Today’s world is undoubtedly in a time of heightened fear and challenge with little to no calm. We are dealing with something we have not experienced before; a new virus, constantly evolving measures to control its spread, a National Emergency, a worldwide pandemic. It can cause fear and a sense of panic due to the unknown duration and outcomes. When faced with the unfamiliar, finding ways to help us carry on are vital.
How to “keep calm and carry on.”
Have a plan for:
- Keeping kids occupied while they are home
- Keeping up with your work
- Staying healthy yourself
- Tending to your pets if you do get sick
Stay abreast of the many useful tips offered for staying healthy and not spreading the virus.
When you have a plan, even if you have to deviate, it brings a sense of order and calm.
The mind is the priority area in which to instill a sense of calm. Fear and anxiety, while merited, can quickly spiral out of control. One of my favorite quotes about fear is from Frank Herbert, the author of Dune.
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Fear is often overblown, irrational, and baseless. I’m not saying there is no reason or purpose for concern. It is a primal protector. But fear creates stress in the body, making us more vulnerable to illness, less likely to sleep well, eat well, reason well, and more fearful, all of which can be contagious.
How to “keep calm and overcome fear.”
- Use common sense and practice safety measures.
- Stay home if you are sick, stay away from sick people and vulnerable populations.
- Don’t hoard food and supplies that leave others in need.
- Please wash your hands often.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it away right away.
- Wash down surfaces that you often touch while sick (cell phones, door handles, etc.).
- Gather your news from several sources. Stay up to date on information, but don’t binge on the news.
If we individually do our part, we help the greater good.
We are in an age of instant information, which is good and bad. Years ago, we waited for the news; now we have it 24/7. The problem is that we’re overstimulating our brains, not just with information, but with flashing lights, alerting sounds, the use of the color red as in “warning,” the constant repetition and short soundbites that are meant to capture our attention.
The constant overstimulation creates a state of heightened awareness and feeling of fight or flight. No wonder we are both addicted and frightened.
Look for good news as there are some excellent websites with positive and inspirational stories. The core of human decency is evident across the world as people are offering to help each other – even with social distancing.
The stories about the homebound people of Italy singing to each other are an example. Locally, people are offering to deliver meals to homebound friends and strangers and check on their elderly neighbors. Businesses are working hard to keep shelves filled; restaurants are offering streetside delivery, and competitors are working together to help people.
Here are some excellent news websites:
Faith or a sense of inner peace offers direct access to a sense of calm. We have always been able to turn to our place of worship or beliefs when faced with a crisis.
Many areas of worship are suspending physical services out of an abundance of caution. But thanks to technology, they are offering online services, readings, and guidance so parishioners can keep in contact.
To me, prayer and meditation are the most powerful tools to foster calm and a sense of peace. There are an amazing amount of prayer sites and online meditations available at your fingertips that can guide you to a sense of peace.
“Breathe Easy is a simple concentration meditation to focus on the breath. This breathing meditation will center you and calm your entire nervous system. It creates a state of balance.”
Tools You Can Use to Instill a Sense of Calm
To summarize, here are some tools you can use to bring on a sense of calm if you are feeling stressed or fearful.
- Take care of yourself and your loved ones to your best ability – practice safety measures, wash your hands, follow guidelines offered.
- Have a plan – keep in touch with the school, work, family, and your physician if needed.
- Help others when possible – selfless service brings a sense of purpose and releases healthy endorphins.
- Stay informed with a reasonable amount of news from several sources. Don’t binge.
- Focus on positive stories of how people help one another other out, instead of focusing on the few that are taking advantage of this situation.
- Spend time enjoying your family if you are at home.
- Resurrect ways to connect that we’ve forgotten in our hectic world.
- Appreciate the beauty of nature as Spring is upon us.
- Meditate, pray, enjoy the silence, be grateful, and be kind.