Updated: Apr 26, 2020
Have you been spending a lot of time thinking about all of the things going wrong right now?
Thinking about those who have lost their lives or their loved ones? Worrying about bringing the coronavirus home to your family? Stressing about juggling your job with kids home from school?
You’re not alone. Many people all over the world are struggling right now. But I have some good news. The coronavirus isn’t causing your stress. Your thoughts about the coronavirus are causing your stress. This may seem like a minor distinction, but it’s incredibly powerful. It doesn’t mean that we should just choose to never feel thoughts that make us feel stressed or sad or angry. Feeling all of those things is just part of being human. But it does mean that we have some options about what we choose to think and, therefore, how we feel.
If your brain keeps thinking about the worst-case scenario and recycling stressful thoughts over and over, you will naturally feel extremely stressed out. But the flip side is also true. If you direct your brain to look for the good things, to also consider the possibility of the best case scenario, you will naturally feel happier or more in balance. That is why gratitude is so powerful.
So, what is coronavirus giving you?
Is it giving you some extra time with your family? A reminder that even those who are far away are only a click away with Zoom? An opportunity to see how incredibly resilient you are? A chance to see how people all over the country are stepping up? An option to take your favorite workout class from home? A chance to take care of those who really need you?
It’s going to be different for everyone, but I would encourage you to take a few minutes break and make a list of what coronavirus is giving you. If that seems like too much of stretch right now, just start with a list of things that you care about that coronavirus hasn't taken away. Let yourself really feel appreciation or joy from that. You deserve it.