Everyday you’re flooded with more and more information about how Coronavirus (COVID-19) is rapidly spreading.
The news is filled with predictions about how long this will last and its impact on the economy.
I’ve written very little about this – and have contemplated whether I should share my perspective.
The word “pandemic” isn’t in my vocabulary.
It’s easy for the mind to leap to the worst possible conclusion even when experts share a range of possibilities.
Estimates are educated guesses at best, not facts.
And, I’ve learned the best-case scenario is just as likely as the worst one in most experiences.
I’m not writing to dismiss the severity of what is going on in the world that has literally brought countries to their knees.
It’s simply that what’s spreading faster than any virus every could is deep fear. And if you’re not careful, the fearful thoughts fueled by fearful ideas and estimates can masquerade as the truth.
That fear can be highly debilitating, compounding the damage of the virus alone.
When you are in fear, you go into a fight-flight-freeze pattern where the amygdala runs the show.
This reactive part of the brain loves drama and end-of-the-world scenarios.
When the amygdala is in charge, your body produces cortisol, a steroid that is naturally produced by the adrenal gland to allow you to cope with stress and minimize freaking out about anything you can’t control.
Unfortunately, cortisol weakens your immune system making the fear of something – in this case the pandemic – much worse than the actual reality of it.
Every day, you get exposed to viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites and your immune system protects your body from these potentially harmful substances that could make you sick.
When you’re worried or anxious, your body takes all of the energy it would use to fight an infection and expends it on that thought.
This makes the body more vulnerable.
One more thing happens – when the amygdala is in charge, the part of your brain that is responsible for reasoning and memory is offline!
Not only are you more susceptible to getting sick because you prevent your immune system from operating at its best, you’re also unable to think clearly and your vision gets narrower, causing you to look out more exclusively for numero uno – yourself.
You can’t figure out the best solutions for yourself – and you can’t empathize with what other people are experiencing as your hyper-focused on your own needs.
The best way to get out of this state is to be in a state of complete and genuine gratitude.
· Gratitude for what you have.
· Gratitude for the people in your life who have loved you.
· Gratitude for the people who you’ve never met who are on the front lines keeping you safe.
Gratitude is a state of being.
Express your gratitude aloud to your friends, colleagues, and clients as that level of appreciation will create ripples of peace, love, and joy across the planet.
Remember: the state you’re in matters.
Courageous leaders get that your beingness matters as much as your doingness.
I do not own a television nor watch news. Negative news sells, and sells by using powerful images.
Because of my choice not to watch, I don’t have horrific images imprinted in my mind of tragic events.
Choose to connect with people, and projects that will make the world a bit better. Choose upside.
Being out of fear will allow you to make better decisions and strengthen your immunity.
Wash your hands.
Avoid gathering in large groups.
And, speak about the Upside in your life.
Do this not from a place of fear, rather from a place of loving service for others and yourself. At Design Your Destiny Live (www.DesignYourDestinyLive.com) I talk about forgiveness and how the brain doesn’t understand the difference between real and pretend.
This means you get to choose how you want to feel every moment.
· You can choose to be worried or you can choose to be courageous.
· You can choose to focus on what you may lose or you can choose to focus on all you have to gain.
· You can choose to be afraid for yourself or you can choose to be a champion for others.
Emotions are simply biological states brought on by a change in what you think.
My Dad was in a vulnerable place without access to his monthly IV treatment as his doctor didn’t feel it was safe for him to go to the hospital to receive the medicine.
I was afraid for my Dad and realized this fear was my own.
My Dad had lots of people praying for him from all over the world, a strong patient advocate, my sister’s immense understanding of different treatments, and my Mom’s background as a nurse all working on ways to get his treatment.
My role was to stay out of fear by practicing gratitude, focusing on the Upside, and being a listening ear.
After 6 weeks, I’m humbled to witness him receive his treatment and get to celebrate the many people who came together to make this possible.
When I changed this feeling and focused on the people around me, neighbors and loved ones who are first-responders and all the good they’re doing, I realized, yet again, this is how fear is an unseen enemy.
Instead of fear, choose love.
ACTION: The Upside Challenge of the week is to identify what you would like to walk away with at the end of all of this. How would you like to be changed?
The world needs you and your brilliance.