COVID-19 might be hurting us, but fear is hurting us more.
Fear is magnifying our problems and hindering our solutions. It has people communicating poorly, even outright abusing others. It people hoarding supplies they don’t need, leaving those in real need to go without. It has people losing sleep, negatively impacting their immune systems and leaving them less able to handle the next day effectively.
Fear is understandable though. The number one objective of the human brain is to keep us alive. So it’s primed to notice threats. Meanwhile, the number one objective of the media is to capture our attention, so it takes advantage of our innate susceptibility to threats.
Just because it’s understandable, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.
Disciplining ourselves to stop feeding our fear and making time for calm primes us for what I refer to as C.L.E.A.R. Thinking.
C.L.E.A.R. stands for:
In the context of COVID-19, C.L.E.A.R. Thinking can assist you in these ways:
Access to creativity means access to problem solving, innovation and out of the box thinking. It gives us ideas about what we can use as replacements for out-of-stock supplies. It helps us think of ways to keep kids from going stir-crazy if they have to stay home from school. It produces ideas about how to connect with others during times of self-isolation. It helps us think of new ways to earn income.
No matter the problem there is always a solution, and the list of ideas when you have access to creativity is literally endless.
With logic we take in facts rather than assumptions and media-hyped ‘news’ or even conspiracy theories. We can assess that we need to be vigilant about preventing the spread of the virus, not because we won’t survive the virus, but because we can slow the progression of the virus and give scientists and health services a chance to keep up. We can see fear as a warning that there are changes we need to make but not allow ourselves to engage in the neurotic fear that leads to panic buying and hoarding.
Empathy helps us reduce the inevitable tensions that arise between people in times of crisis. When we can see the world through another’s eyes, we can see they are just as afraid, if not more, as we are. They also have loved one’s they care about. They are also feeling the financial strain. They’ve also been traumatised and/or jaded by past experiences. They are also doing their best to navigate unprecedented levels of uncertainty. They also have a need to feel safe and loved.
When we see another’s humanity, we think twice before making assumptions about others and realise we are all in this together. With empathy, we appreciate that none of us is faultless and we all make a difference.
Agility is being adaptable to change. It’s being able to pivot as needed when the unexpected happens. Our success and happiness in life relies heavily on our ability to be comfortable in the face of uncertainty and, for many of us, the current climate is more uncertainty than we’ve ever faced. For how long? No one really knows.
If we are willing to adapt to the changes rather than focus on all that’s missing/depleting/gone/failing, we will find there are opportunities waiting to be seized. If we can discipline our thinking to focus on what we have, we find what we can be grateful for.
Resourcefulness is about make the best use of what we have. It’s about talking to each other to clarify what/where our resources are and how we can help each other. It’s about reaffirming the inner strength that already exists within each of us, especially in the most challenging of times. It’s about recognising the inner strength and wisdom within each of us. It’s about committing to community and joining forces.
What we can do…
One thing we can all do to help ourselves and the global community is be disciplined about our thinking so fear is not allowed to roam unchecked. Though it might not always seem so, we have the ability to reduce our fear and stress about COVID-19 (or anything for that matter).
In addition to strengthening our immune systems (one of the best defences we have against COVID-19), disciplining our minds to reduce fear and stress primes us for C.L.E.A.R. Thinking.
So notice when you feel fear rising and take pause. Remember that fear left to fester is self-sabotage and a barrier to your being creative, logical, empathetic, agile and resourceful.
COVID-19 might be one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced, but the biggest challenge we need to overcome is undisciplined fear.