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How to Go from Panic to Peace in the Face of a Global Pandemic

By Teresa Beshwate March 28, 2020 Mindset

The Covid-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of our lack of control. We can’t control a virus spreading throughout the globe, or its many implications, and we can’t control other people.

As a matter fact, we can’t control anything outside of ourselves.

Unfortunately, we attempt to assert control in all areas of our life, spending time and energy arguing with reality and judging other people’s actions, all of which makes us miserable.

Feeling Out of Control

These are indeed unusual and, for many, unprecedented times. Many people are worried, concerned, panicked, overwhelmed, disappointed, or fearful, to name a few.

However you are feeling, know that it’s okay. This is simply your brain doing its job, which is to keep you safe from danger. These days we have a constant input of messages that spell danger to our brains, which end up looping on fearful thoughts.

We Can Control One Thing – Our Thoughts

Being human means experiencing a wide array of emotions, some of which are negative. We don’t actually want to be happy about a pandemic, of course.

Yet it’s important to recognize that we have 100% control over our thoughts, which in turn create feelings, which prompt action or inaction, which generates results in our lives. It’s a cascade, and the good news is that we have full control over all of it.

Give Thought to Your Thoughts

Look for the thoughts that are causing the feelings you are experiencing today and write them down. Ask yourself if those thoughts are true, and whether they are serving you. If you find that they are neither, create a list of alternate thoughts.

This is not to suggest unicorns-and-rainbows or head-in-the-sand thoughts, but instead useful thoughts; thoughts that feel authentic and believable to you. Try them on for size and see how each makes you feel.

Because your brain is hard wired for efficiency, it will quickly and automatically return to the original thoughts. This gives you the opportunity to think on purpose the thoughts you’ve chosen instead. It takes practice and is so worth the effort.

Your Thoughts Are Autonomous

You get to decide how you feel – today and always. Don’t let others’ feelings influence your own.

Limit your exposure to the constant flow of messages that signal danger to your brain. Give your brain at least equal exposure to that which brings you peace – art, music, journaling, crafts, singing, needle work, knitting or crochet, nature, reading, movies, etc.

Ideally, get the basic information you need each day, and then flood your brain with peaceful inputs. Peace can be more contagious than any virus.

How often do you find yourself thinking about things that influence you negatively? What do you do to turn the tables? What activities make you focus on the positive things in life? Please share with our community!

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The Author

Teresa Amaral Beshwate, MPH, is an author and life coach who exclusively helps widows to move forward and learn to live and love their life again after the loss of their spouse. Her latest book, Life Reconstructed: A Widow’s Guide to Coping with Grief, is now available.

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