Amidst the world-wide panic that COVID-19 is causing, I wanted to write this post
to offer some perspective and hopefully, some peace.
As I am sure you have been watching/reading/listening (and probably researching), there is a virus that is currently ‘sweeping’ the globe.
In today’s day, we are so exposed to mass amounts of information that it is difficult to grasp what is actually going on vs. what we are subjected to.
We see objective posts on Instagram, we read articles written on webMD, we listen to our friend’s opinions (whether panicked or nonchalant) and we soak ALL of it in.
Our brain’s job is to take outside information and internally process it for us until it ‘makes sense’. Unfortunately, in times like these, when we are receiving so many mixed messages, it becomes more difficult for information to move from our subconscious to our conscious.
This is because when we are confused, we tell our brains multiple truths … and it believes us.
Your brain doesn’t know the difference between reality & what you tell it - everything is your perception and everything that is true for you is influenced by your lens.
Knowing this is super powerful, mostly because it means that we get to create the world that we live in and help our brains to sort information properly.
The following suggestions are exactly that – they are not medical, nor are they biblical, they are pieces of advice based on what positively impacts the human response.
I want this period of time, as any other, to be as peaceful as possible for you. I want you to wake up feeling good and like you don’t have to be in a constant state of fight or flight. I want you to live your life and more importantly, love it.
That said, here are some tactics & behaviors that I suggest adopting over the next few months as this all continues to solve itself.
FACE THE FACTS
We are all guilty of getting caught up in headlines and it’s hard not to – as said before, we are exposed to SO much.
Our natural response to seeing, “Death Toll Rises to 31 in the US”, is fuck. Our brain immediately goes into overdrive; death = scary … am I going to die? I don’t even know 31 people! And it’s only going to get worse!
This is the time to exercise your logical brain; because, if you committed to logic every time you saw a statistic or headline, you would be a lot less overwhelmed and a lot better informed.
Here’s what your brain does when your logic is involved; wow, that means only 0.00000939% of people in the US have actually died from this virus! How lucky are we that this is affecting such a small percentage of people?! This could be so much worse, but it’s not!
See the shift in perspective? Imagine if you had the latter response to every negative headline you saw … you’d actually spend your day feeling grateful.
STOP EXPERIENCING IT
The reality is the amount of people who are actually going to contract COVID-19 & physically experience it are FAR less than the people who are going to mentally experience it. You might not realize this, but your physical being is constantly reacting to your mental & emotional state. When you are worrying, fearful, nervous, etc. your body picks up on that and begins to symptomize. The likelihood of you actually suffering from the virus is slim, the likelihood of you putting yourself through the suffrage without one actual symptom is high. Don’t do that to yourself – it takes such a mental & physical toll and while you may not be in control of external circumstances, you are in control of your thoughts.
BE INFORMED, NOT OBSESSED
Turn off your google alerts! The influx of information is already overwhelming and feels inescapable, you do not need to go looking for more information. Stop researching, stop wasting valuable moments of your day asking how other people are taking precaution, stop being obsessed with knowing everything.
The hard truth is that no overabundance of information is going to give you more control.
This is something that I haven’t heard many people speak about, but high stress levels actually lower your immune system. So, while you’re panicking, your body is trying so hard to calm down that it doesn’t have the time or the energy to fight anything external off. You’re fighting yourself.
Your stress physically manifests itself, so much so that somewhere between 75-90% of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. Read that again.
In conclusion: your own body is trying to fight itself off & you’re so stressed that it’s making you sick.
BREATHE THROUGH IT
This is a great time to employ your deep breathing – not only will it calm you, but proper breathing techniques actually boost your immune system.
Try downloading an app to make breathing exercises more effective - my favorites are the Wim Hof Breathing Method App or the XPT Life App.
You can also box breathe 3x a day:
Inhale through your nose for 4 counts, hold your breath at the top for 4 counts, exhale out of your mouth for 4 counts. X5
This is the kind of breathing that Navy Seals do to calm themselves down in critical situations – I think if it works for them, it will probably work for you, try it & let me know!
KEEP IT SIMPLE
While we’re all researching like crazy and trying to come up with home remedies, prescribing our friends herbal cocktails & dressing in hazmat suits, the CDC has been clear about one thing and its fucking genius: wash your hands.
We don’t even allow our brains to believe that the one thing that is actually helping is something so simplistic, but we don’t need to overcomplicate things because we can.
Lastly, I don’t want to make it seem like COVID-19 isn’t scary or that it’s easy to not overthink things, but if you can overthink the bad things, you can overthink the good things. Right now, be where your feet are; you are alive, you are healthy, you can handle anything that life throws at you.
If you can, close your eyes for a minute and just breathe.
What is meant to be will always be.
Be safe, use your head, take proper precautions, but live your life. You’re okay.
Sending extra love and lots of healing, white light to the world right now – I’m here if you need me.
Devyn Penney is a certified life & intimacy coach and the author of, "Mastering the Art of Internal Intimacy". This blog is dedicated to ending small talk by having Big Conversations, "the only way we connect is through love, empathy and an open line of communication".