We are still in uncharted territory but at least now we are starting to get a sense of what we are dealing with. A pandemic this size is nothing like any of us have experienced in our lifetime. It's shocking. It's scary. It's unfathomable. What is going on? And how will we get through this?
One... breath... at... a... time...
Give it a try. Bring your awareness to your breath. Take a long, slow inhale, followed by a long, slow exhale (it can be helpful to count slowly to the number 5). Feel your feet firmly planted on the ground. Notice how stable that feels. Continue breathing slowly, relaxing your shoulders with each exhale.
Notice how you feel after a few slow breaths. Notice what has shifted for you. Do you feel a little more calm? A little more grounded? A little more capable to respond to what's going on around you?
This is how we will get through this pandemic. By slowing down our breathing, we are calming down our nervous system so we can calm down our thoughts and shift from fear-based thinking to rational thinking.
This shift is very powerful - it allows you to shift from automatic reaction-mode to thoughtful response-mode.
The trick? To catch yourself in the act next time you are in automatic reaction-mode (a.k.a., stress-mode). So the next time you notice yourself in stress-mode, stop and take a few slow breaths. That's all it takes to shift you into a more calm and receptive state so you can make rational choices.
I like to think of it as a super power... It ultimately gives you the ability to see multiple choices before you. And from there, you can choose the best and most supportive path forward, for both yourself, and for your community.
Luckily, we have MANY calming tools available to us. Check out these resources to support you each day: InsightTimer, Mindful.org, UCSD Center for Mindfulness, and the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion.
Wishing you and your loved ones much calm and clarity as you navigate these rough waters.
We are all in this together, and we will get through this together.
If you need support, please reach out. I'm here for you.