It is Sunday March 15th as I start writing this. Along with the other citizens and residents of Spain I am settling into the lock-down – cut off from all the world outside my home. Like many people, I can at least work at my home, in my case by having Skype sessions with clients who have Skype and enough privacy to do sessions that way.
Nobody knows how long this situation will continue, or what sort of world we will be able to go back out into. The world already was changing at an increasing rate and in unpredictable ways Old patterns and systems seem to be breaking down, and who knows how the pandemic will contribute to that. Our resiliency is being challenged.
Can resiliency be developed in the face of all the fear people had already been feeling and now is being intensified? We need it to cope with this changing world, and we need ti to deal with COVID-19. We need to take care of ourselves and not just in hygiene to protect against infection. Developing a healthier life style will strengthen the immune system. The challenge is to take precautions and make changes without further building stress in the process. Stress lowers the immune response. The most contagious element of all is fear, raising everyone’s stress level.
So, as you take your precautions and make your changes don’t dwell on the fear motivation – what your are trying to avoid. Think about the positive effects, that protection is being provided and good things are happening to you. Be grateful about that! Research shows that fear is a poor motivator. Think how campaigns to reduce smoking by stressing the harmful effects have had little effects. Dwelling on telling people about these -and by now they know this stuff anyway – leads then to turn their attention away (and quite possibly reach for a cigarette). Will power tends to wear out. But positive motivation helps to bring others or oneself to change old patterns and develop new ones. So, if you want to stop doing something and/or do something you have perhaps been putting off, think of what you want to come of it. Imagine and visualize how good it will feel. And research shows that gratitude brings wonderful benefits physiologically and psychologically.
Doing these things will build resiliency. People are cooped up together and relationships will be strained. Doing things that build resiliency will help us be more accepting of others and their stresses, and learning to take things more in stride will further build resiliency. Being cut off from others definitely lowers resiliency. So finding ways to connect with others is an area to consider the positive reward. Now is a time to use electronic connection as positively as `possible. Let go of things that get you into comparing yourself to others and promoting false images. Really notice what things make you feel better or what things make you feel worse. This is a time to emphasize supporting one another. In that respect, this idea of applauding medical personnel is excellent – it not only encourages these stressed people but is a way for everyone to have a sense of joining – think how good that clapping and cheering makes you feel. Something someone reading this might get inspired to do , perhaps through Facebook or whatever, is to get the ball rolling on having times when many join in at the same time for a meditation/prayer session dwelling on a sense of tranquility and health for all the world. There have been occasions where a large amount of people have joined in such a meditation and crime rates, terrorist activities, suicides, etc, in a region have significantly reduced for a time. And, again, there is a sense of joining.
This could be a good time to get into or further into meditating on your own Just being mindfully aware of your breathing can be very relaxing. And doing breathing exercises is very helpful Learning to note and do things that make you feel good, whatever they may be, and regardless of how busy you seem to be, builds resiliency. And the more resilient we can feel, and the more we can calm our minds, the better we can cope with the changing world and even embrace the changes.