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COVID-19 has thrown our world into crisis mode. A few weeks ago, most of us had never heard of a coronavirus, but today it is all we hear about. Our friends and family talk about it, and the media drones on incessantly, adding more fuel to the fear.
How do we combat that fear? How do we get back to a calm, cool, and collected existence?
Managing a crisis well comes down to where your focus is.
Your emotional state follows where your focus is.
A buddy, let’s call him Billy, and his wife have been on edge since the government’s social distancing guidelines came out. Their TV has been constantly on and fixed to various news channels. All they hear is doom and gloom. They are a younger couple, solidly in the age group that is less likely to be affected by the virus, and yet they are terrified to leave their house.
Meanwhile, across town I have another friend, let’s call him James. While taking precautions, James and his wife have largely continued about their life. While James’ wife is out taking care of family, James has been working hard, preparing their boat for a summer cruise. In the evening, after their dinner meal, they listen to the latest updates in the virus. Though they can cite the stats, and are in the most vulnerable age group, they are unafraid.
They are both experiencing the same crisis and choosing to approach it from different angles.
Though Billy is in the safer group, he focuses on the negative. The fear being hurled at him through the airwaves is a never-ending torrent, reinforcing his fear and blinding him to the good around him.
James, on the other hand, has chosen to stay informed on the crisis, but focuses his attention on the good things, his family, and the vacation they will soon be enjoying.
What you choose to focus on defines your state of mind.
Focus on the negative and fear will overwhelm you. Focus on the positive and you can still experience joy in the midst of a crisis.
That can be easier said than done though! Here are a few battle-tested tips that have helped me weather many storms and come out stronger on the other side.
Assess the situation
Pause to carefully assess the situation. How big is it really? How long is it likely to last?
Fear often causes situations to seem much worse than they actually are.
Carefully monitor external influences
Our emotions are highly susceptible to outside influences. What is influencing you? Take control of external influences and be sure they do not have a negative impact on your life.
Tim Ferris, in his book The 4-Hour Work Week, writes about the negative effect that consuming too much news media can have on your mental health. He advocates for a dramatic reduction in intake. I was skeptical, but tried his method and noticed a quick uptick in mental well-being.
Your skill and experience has not left you! You are still the same talented and intellectual person that you were before this crisis happened. Nothing can take that away from you.
When all else seems to be spinning out of control around you, trust in yourself.
Find the silver lining
I have often been told that I am a “silver lining guy”. Meaning that I can find something good in every situation, no matter how difficult that situation may seem. I carry that title with honor, as it has helped me, my teams, and my family carry on in some rather trying times.
Finding the silver lining provides hope and a promise that there is still good in the world.
If everything looks dark and no silver lining seems to be found don’t despair! I believe in you and would like to help you find that silver lining. Get in touch with me and let’s discover your silver lining together.