Feeling Overwhelmed by the Coronavirus? 6 actions to help you break out of the fear loop

PHOTO CREDIT: www.asianefficency.com

This is something that effects all of us. We’re in this together. You’re reading this because it feels like we’re waiting for ‘the storm of the century’ to make landfall, and you don’t know which weather station to believe. It’s unsettling – and that’s why I’m focusing on the mental aspect of this to help minimise the stress you’re exerting on your body.

Let’s be honest – this isn’t the first time the media have focused heavily on feeding us a diet of fear. Even before this it was easy to feel overwhelmed wasn’t it? We have more access to problems all over the world every minute of every day than ever before. While Coronavirus is top of mind for everybody, I invite you to think about how this plays out in other ways keeping you in a fear cycle of ‘Oh no! What’s next’ – so you can start to be proactive and make better mental wealth decisions for future events.

Right off the bat the first action is a must when the information coming at you is fear based.

ACTION 1: Get Informed

That means listening to reputable sources, in the coronavirus case – it’s organisations like W.H.O (World Health Organisation), scientists and medical doctors that have educated knowledge.

Case in point – take the time to listen to the two videos included at the end of the article. One is from Dr Mike tackling the media’s poor coverage and how they’re spreading misinformation. It highlights how out of touch the media really is, while providing sound alternatives.

The other video I highly recommend is Joe Rogan’s interview with Michael Osterholm. The beauty of his podcast format is you get 90 minutes of discussion instead of trying to create click bait headlines or a five minute sound bite to keep viewers tuned in. This man is an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology.

He is Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota. That’s credibility to take seriously.

Genuine concern about this is fine – panicking and acting irrationally based on misinformation is not. Listening to the experts feeds the next action.

ACTION 2: Take the Wheel of your mind

Understand that all the negativity in the world and external factors are outside of our control. Focusing on what you can do will empower yourself. If you’ve practicing to action one, then you know your actions are driven by facts and not fear. Rather know the worst case and how it effects you and what you can do – than listening to uneducated rhetoric causing you to panic and create unnecessary stress in your body.

Yes, this is a highly contagious infectious disease. Yes people are dying. Yes there are other diseases killing more people. The reality is no matter which way you slice statistics, it’s still a disease we dealing with. Are you being proactive in life or reactive? That brings us to the next action.

ACTION 3: Develop Healthy Habits

We live in a world where disease is all around us. Just in the last 20 years we’ve had SARS 2003 – 813 died (https://www.who.int/csr/sars/country/2003_07_11/en/) ; Bird Flu 2005 – 415 died (https://www.who.int/influenza/human_animal_interface/2020_01_20_tableH5N1.pdf?ua=1) ; Swine Flu 2009 – 203 000 deaths (

https://www.livescience.com/41539-2009-swine-flu-death-toll-higher.html) and Ebola 2014 – 11 325 deaths (https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/history/2014-2016-outbreak/index.html) are just a few.

Look at these facts based on the information we have available – bear in mind as this spreads, this can change.

This isn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last, but worrying is like a rocking chair – it keeps you busy but it doesn’t get you anywhere. A better focus is how to strengthen what you’re naturally born with – Your Immune system.

You can immediately start by adding things like garlic, ginger, broccoli, turmeric, spinach and citrus fruit to your existing diet. It’s also time to take stock of behaviours like:

  • Smoking
  • Are you exercising? 
  • Are you maintaining a healthy weight?
  • Do you drink alcohol in moderation?
  • Are you sleeping enough?
  • What are your hygiene habits? How often do you clean your hands?

As important as physical health is what are you doing to boost your mental health? Pay attention to how much negative news takes up your day. What would happen if you replaced that with uplifting stories of what people ARE doing or new things to learn yourself?

Don’t know where to start? Sign up HERE for my 11 day course to guide you and help build a ‘power hour’ of productive healthy habits.

ACTION 4: Practice Gratitude

Expressing gratitude daily has been proven to boost both your immune system and your nervous system. You can say this out loud gargling through the foam as you brush your teeth. That’s two minutes twice a day giving you an opportunity to express gratitude for what you have in the morning, and what happened that day at night. Bonus points for writing them down!

Check out Dr John Demartini’s explanation on the healing properties, especially when dealing with trauma.

The important part of expressing Gratitude, is that you’re alive now. If the thought of catching this virus scares you to death because you want to do more, that’s where the next lesson comes in.

ACTION 5: Take Action!

If you were faced with death tomorrow, what would you do?

I wouldn’t want to spend it trying to do ‘stuff’ – I’d make sure I spent every waking moment with those that matter most to me. That sobering thought should make you look back and think ‘yep, I’ve been doing my best to do what inspires me’ and not ‘oh shit there’s so much more to do!!’

Write. It. Down. You don’t need permission to do everything possible to make it happen. Experience the beauty in this world, take risks so that whatever next ‘catastrophe’ the world throws at us – not only are you mentally prepared but you’re already living your best life.

ACTION 6: Get Involved

It might not particularly apply here unless you have medical experience and are in a high contamination zone, but if a particular news story overwhelms you – I’ve learned the best way to turn that into a powerful force for inner peace and fulfilment: is to get involved.

There is no such thing as too little. Volunteering 20 minutes a month is not measured by your time – but by the impact it has on the person / animal / cause you’re passionate about. Tying back to lesson two, asking ‘how can I help’ creates meaningful dialogue with those closest to you about solutions, instead of moaning. It gets you searching for people already tackling the problem near you, instead of following the rabbit hole trapped in a fear loop. Imagine being involved in drastically changing the course of someone’s life? How would that feel compared to the hopelessness of reading another depressing article?

If you’d like to explore this further but not sure where to start – why not sign up HERE for our ‘Take back your power: building purpose’ course.

Breathe

This is serious, but we’re all in this together. Let’s be sensible about our decisions. If you’re sick, stay home. If it persists – see a doctor. If you have unhealthy habits that put you at risk, start converting them into healthy ones. If you have pre-existing conditions that put you at risk, avoid public gatherings.

Help out the elderly and people suffering from pre-existing conditions that are most at risk of this. Use this as a positive reminder of what’s most important in life.

And focus on that, every day going forward.