It is very easy to feel out of control and powerless right now, but even in the hardest times we do have the power to shift our thoughts. While not always easy, it’s possible. The way we lift ourselves out of this powerlessness and get grounded is by focusing on what we can control — in our home, ourselves, our bodies our families. This means really being conscious about our thoughts and actions and bringing purpose to our day. And taking things day by day. Start the day with an intention and make that your focus and design your day around that.
If you are concerned about being healthy right now, affirm that your intention for the day is to be healthy and design your day around that — eat well and exercise and in essence convince your ego mind that you are doing everything you can to stay healthy. If you want to be productive, let yourself get lost in completing that project for the day. This will help you regain your sense of control.
It will also help you to be present. Staying present in the moment is essential right no– when we start to think about the future and what ifs, that’s when we get overwhelmed and anxious. If you find yourself getting anxious do things that ground you — make time to meditate, run, exercise, clean a room.
And focus on gratitude. Gratitude is the antidote to anxious thoughts. Bring yourself back to what you are grateful for and what you do have, so you can lift yourself out of your fearful thoughts. I actually recommend that you begin and end your day — bookend your day with gratitude to prime yourself to stay grounded and positive. Gratitude is a wonderful way to reframe the situation and get back on track to feeling empowered.
One of the most powerful things you can do for yourself is have your reframes ready so that when fear takes over you can take your power back. I normally teach this technique around limiting beliefs and self-doubts, but it is just as effective with fear. First off, name the fears that you know are triggered right now, maybe you are afraid of getting sick or a loved one getting sick, or maybe its losing your job.
For each of these fears we need to create a new inner dialogue to diffuse them and have them ready when that disruptive or obsessive thought comes up.
For getting sick — your reframe may be — I am safe and healthy and I am doing everything I can to stay safe and healthy.
For losing your job — your reframe may be — I am resourceful and I will be working again soon. This is temporary. This will pass.
Once you have these reframes ready, you can put them into action. I created what I call a Triple ‘R’ Formula to help with reframing fearful thoughts.
1) Recognize the fearful thought for what it is. It is just a thought and not the truth in this moment.
2) Recenter yourself using three deep breaths, which will shut off the fight-or-flight response you are feeling and bring you back to baseline.
3) Reframe your inner dialogue and remind yourself of what is really true right now and affirm more positive thoughts like:
- I am grateful that my family is healthy right now.
- I am doing everything to take care of my health.
- I am going to be okay and I have support.
This is going to take practice, moment by moment practice. The triggered thoughts may not go away completely, but you know you are succeeding when you recover faster in reframing your thoughts.
One last thought I would like to offer is to consider reframing this time of social distancing and see it as a pause to reconnect with yourself and your family at home. Perhaps it is an invitation to reset and get clear about what really matters to you now, and what you really want for your life coming out of this uncertainty. Use this time to ask yourself the hard questions, like what do I want going forward, what am I noticing, and what do I want to change?
This experience will undoubtedly change all of us, and it is a chance to choose what that will look like, and what we will look like going forward, and ultimately what do we want next.