DURING THIS PANDEMIC, WHAT CAN I CHANGE TODAY?
For nearly 30 years I worked as a psychotherapist in private practice. A major coping tool I utilized with clients was a tool called reframing. No matter what issue got presented, putting a new frame on your view of an issue can greatly improve your mental and emotional health.
When struggling with communication in relationships or financial stress, depression, physical limitations, the weight from life stressors, a negative view of our situation is guaranteed to keep us struggling. When we feed negative thoughts, we lose sight of our reprogramming button. If negativity was a color it would be black and darken any hopes for change or possible options.
In this crisis of the Covid 19 virus, it is challenging to keep our heads above bleak waters. Every day we are bombarded with dire messages that spread fear and anxiety into the universe. And we are in need of inoculation. Inoculation that can give us strength to manage our fears and prevent panic.
Newscasts inform us and keep us apprised of the spread of the virus. They also provide information on actions we can take to stay healthy and prevent contamination as much as possible. While it is important to stay informed, it is also imperative that we identify strategies to help us cope with this most difficult time.
So, take a moment to consider how you are perceiving this time of crisis. Do you ruminate on how bad the timing is, stress over how you will make it through this, get stuck in the maze of how our country could have dealt with this sooner? Does your fear of getting sick keep you in a state of panic?
It is normal to have these kinds of thoughts and fears. However, It is not effective or healthy to feed these thoughts. Think about how you can put a more positive frame, a reframe on these worrisome thoughts.
Today is a good time to practice embracing this moment, to live in today rather than the future. It’s a good time to keep a gratitude journal, to make a note of a kindness extended to you today. It’s a time to get out of self and think of others. Make a phone call to someone you know who lives alone. It’s a time to ask what can I learn from this? Think of ways you can spread humor and encouragement. Observe the kindness being shown by neighbors. Those who are buying groceries for others or volunteering to make masks for those in need.
These actions will help you construct a more positive frame around this current crisis and give you some inoculation against fear.