Positive Thinking in Times of Doubt
I think the greatest challenge we are facing with this Pandemic is the unknown: How long will we be shut down? Will I get sick? Will I make my family sick? Will I die? Will my elderly mother get in the hospital and I won’t be able to see her? True, so many things about this are beyond our control; but mostly, so many things are unknown and unknowable. We will only be able to find out answers in the future, and we’re not inclined to imagine the best. We are inclined to imagine the worst, and while that’s valuable as a survival mechanism because it allows us to be prepared to a certain extent–it really doesn’t serve our best interests day in day out all day long. So, Yes, plan ahead and think about what your Plan A and Plan B is, but allow yourself to imagine some positive outcomes too. Why?
The body’s response to continuous negative thinking is a chemical one. We’re under a lot of stress right now, but remember stressors tend to make our body stronger while distressors tend to weaken us. Our body mind spirit response determines whether our concerns become worries and cross over to distressors. So have a plan, imagine different outcomes and plan accordingly but also allow yourself time and imaginations to forsee a positive outcome for yourself personally.
Truly that’s the only person you can impact on such a deep level by controlling your thinking. Thoughts have a tendency to run away with us just as a barn door left open can let the horse out to run away with our good sense and logical thinking. Put a bridle on it. Pull in on those reins and get a visual of yourself bringing your thoughts and runaway worries in to a safe barn. I’m not telling you not to worry, on the contrary, schedule some time in each day to get in a safe space (in your head and/or literally) and define your worries. Maybe even commit them to paper, so you can get them out of your head. And then don’t spend the rest of the day ruminating over them. When you find yourself going there, pull up the reins and stop it and reassure yourself, “No, your’e not going to think again about this until tomorrow at xx, when I’ve scheduled in some worry time”. And whatever you do, don’t continuously listen to the news or read it on the internet. There’s no way you can deal with this crisis if you’re being constantly bombarded with the bad news online.
We’re all challenged to work from home. Meet the challenge by scheduling in some time for the necessary things: Priority Number 1—Positive thinking, then maybe Number 2—Updating with news headlines and then what will no doubt follow, Number 3—Worrying about the future. Yes, we’re all concerned and that’s the truth. But the sooner we deal with that and start imagining some positive outcomes and how we can make those happen, the better. Do your part and control what you can, and enjoy your best possible health by limiting your worries and fears. Your immune system will thank you.
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