Instead of giving into your fears, focus on your mindset and what you can control today, in this moment.
I want to be informed and I want to understand what is happening, but more, I’m scared and looking for answers.
Like many of us, the more I learn about the COVID-19 pandemic, the more my screen time increases (up 39% on my phone in the last week!). Most of it, I roll my eyes at: my conservative friend from high school who claims the whole thing is blown completely out of proportion; a former colleague who’s posting which local stores still have toilet paper; the guy from my gym who says prevention “is just basic common sense” as he lifts in a shared space. So while do I continue to scroll?
I knew that the incessant worrying, the fear and doubt was paralyzing me. But knowing and being aware are two different mindsets.
I want to be informed and I want to understand what is happening, but more, I’m scared and looking for answers. I want to know my kids and loved ones will be safe. I want to know that there will be an end or that the curve will indeed flatten. I want to have some semblance of control.
So as I scroll—mindlessly, desperately, hopefully, fearfully—looking for a gem of truth amongst the panic and the denial, my anxiety begins to stir. That’s how anxiety feels to me—as if someone is pouring in doubt and fear into my daily thoughts. Doubt and fear mix with my normal rational until soon I can’t discern between them. The more I scroll, the less clear it is which thought is true and which is not. I needed to chill the eff out.
Focus on What You Can Control
You can only control yourself. If you choose to focus on the negativity, you become negativity. Instead, focus on how you can bring positivity and hope to a difficult situation.
And then I remembered something I have repeated a hundred times to students, family, and friends: the only thing you can control is yourself. I knew that the incessant worrying, the fear and doubt was paralyzing me, but knowing and being aware are two different mindsets.
You can only control yourself. If you choose to focus on the negativity, you become negative. Instead, focus on how you can bring positivity and hope to a difficult situation. Can you see the what is good? Can you find the love and kindness that is pouring through our lives and think about how you can give that back to world? You can’t control others’ thoughts, you can’t control your feelings, you can’t control your kids or your partner and you damn sure can’t control a pandemic. But you can control YOU.
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