Daaaanggg it is a scary time right now. I don't know how it is where you live but in Atlanta full on panic has set in. I went to the grocery store yesterday (Thursday) at 2pm and it was PACKED! Like the night before Thanksgiving packed. I can feel the panic and fear in the air. News of the Coronavirus is everywhere. Basically unavoidable BUT - that doesn't mean you can't be a light during this dark time.
Things are getting canceled left and right but we have to keep moving forward despite these things happening that are out of our control. When there is so much negativity in the world we have to make the decision to seek out positivity. There are things that you can't control and there are things that you can. It doesn't serve you to focus on the things that you can't control. I know there is a lot to be stressed and disappointed about - I booked a national commercial that fell through - but it's going to be okay. I'm choosing to believe that things will work out according to God greater plan and taking steps to live a more positive, hopeful life rather than one of fear because I don't know what's going to happen next so being fearful will only diminish my quality of life in this moment. Instead, I want to savor this moment. So with that being said, here are my top tips to embrace the positive and live your best life.
1.) Start a practice of gratitude - What you focus on grows. If you are focusing on all the negativity in the world, you will see more negativity (and be more unhappy). There is a lot to be anxious about with everything going on but that doesn't mean you have to focus on it. If I've learned anything in my 30 years it's that we are not in control. None of us know what's going to happen next. The only thing you can control is yourself. Yes you can wash your hands more and avoid crowds but I'm talking about your mindset. You are in control of your thoughts. A thought may pop up out of nowhere but you control if you choose to listen to it or not. Don't give power to the negative thoughts. Focus on the positive. Start a practice of gratitude. Every morning make a list of 3-5 things you are grateful for. It will change your outlook. People need your positivity.
2.) Meditate every day. Even if it's only for 2 minutes, start somewhere! So many people are so resistant to meditating but it has truly helped me be more present and let go of so much overactive thinking and anxiety that was weighing me down and making me depressed. It's allowed me to have more mental energy for other, better things. We only have so much mental energy per day so don't waste it on anxiety. Understand it's going to be a challenge when you first start because it's a new thing and anything that's new starts out hard but embrace the challenge and know as you push through it, you are becoming a better version of yourself! Focus on the benefits of how great you'll feel once you make it a habit. All it takes is a couple minutes a day and it's so worth it! Here is a 5 minute guided meditation I used to use when I first started meditating (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utfw-rJUvy4).
3.) Surround yourself with other positive people. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with so if you are surrounded by negative, anxiety ridden people it's much more likely that you will become the same. Community is so important. We are social beings and crave interaction with others. See if you can enjoy the moment with your friends, which will help you forget about the pain of the world right now. Make a pact to enjoy each others company and not talk about Coronavirus or other negative things. I'm not saying ignore what's going on but you don't have to focus on it all the time. Healthy distractions are necessary.
4.) Go outside and enjoy nature. Turn off your TV, get off your phone, and go outside. Slow down and enjoy/appreciate the beauty of the world. There is something so peaceful about being in nature. The plants are still growing and the animals are still living. Maybe we can learn something from them and their simplicity. There is a whole world beyond Coronavirus.
5.) Move your body. There is a ton of research that shows that regular physical activity releases endorphins and is not only good for your physical health but your mental health as well. If you are feeling especially anxious and can't even think about going outside then put on some music and dance for just one song. But fully commit to that one song. You will feel so much better and it will literally change your thoughts and your mood.
6.) Stay hydrated and eat good, clean food. Don't just take care of your mind but take care of your physical body too. When you eat junk food it'll likely make you feel lethargic and apathetic. Fuel your body with quality food so that a.) you have a healthy immune system and b.) you have energy to keep moving forward despite how challenging it is to look forward right now.
You don't have to be fearful! What is that fear doing for you? Fear manifests in a lot of ways including anxiety, lack of rest and sleep, anger, depression, and physical illness. Notice how they are ALL negative. By being fearful you are making yourself more susceptible to all of these negative things. But you don't have to. You have a choice! You can be proactive and intentional! Yes, the Coronavirus is contagious, but so is panic, fear, hysteria, love, enthusiasm, kindness, and joy. Choose wisely! Your friends, your kids, and the world need your positivity.
IG @stephygthatsme and @showuptogoup