Currently, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread around the world, influencing world leaders to take measures which have caused both healthcare and economic crises. The following suggestions can help you find balance in your life so you can think clearly and cope rationally with this pandemic.
Calm yourself. Practice centering and mindfulness exercises. Relax your body and calm your emotions. Simple deep breathing with long, slow breaths and progressive relaxation techniques can help. Meditative prayers and prayers of surrender can help, along with petitionary prayers. (John 14:27)
Grieve as needed. Losses come in many forms, and awareness of our grief can help us work through it and find the comfort and resolution we need over time. Acceptance of your emotional experience, maintaining healthy memories, forgiveness where needed, and talking it out with a supportive person, all have their place when grieving. (II Corinthians 1:2-5)
Renew your mind. Develop healthy thinking. Hold on to hope. Avoid “awfulizing”, where we focus on how awful things are, taking our minds off those things for which we can be grateful. Avoid “learned helplessness” where we get stuck feeling vulnerable and helpless, rather than understanding what reasonable action steps we can take. This is not a time for blaming and being judgmental of ourselves or others, but rather for showing grace and working toward healthy solutions. Maintain an appropriate sense of humor, in spite of the grief that comes at times like this. (Romans 12:1-2)
Solve problems creatively. Engage your reasoning and critical thinking abilities. List problems separately, so you can take the time to brainstorm creative solutions for each more fully. Be proactive, recognizing the power you do have to act. Develop and work the plans you develop addressing each problem identified. (Proverbs 1:1-7)
Ronald S. Newman, Ph.D. is a psychologist in Mays Landing, NJ who now does teletherapy for clients in New Jersey.