I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like what’s happening right now in the world. And most likely neither have you.
And if you’re finding it hard to cope, I wanted to give you some pointers as to what you can do and how you can cope in a crisis.
As you may know I’m also a certified life coach and NLP practitioner and have done a lot of mindset coaching over the last year.
I’ve personally had my good and bad days and coaching myself or getting coached by others has really helped staying on track and focus on what’s most important right now.
During a time like this, we want to freak out, eat all the cookies, read all the news but if we’re really being honest with ourselves, we know that that is probably not the best thing we can do right now.
Instead we want to be able to manage our emotions and do the absolute best that we can.
Why you don’t want to take the short term view
I know that it is VERY hard not to check the news 10 times a day, eat dark chocolate and just do things that aren’t important or beneficial to you long-term.
But I would encourage you NOT to give into this.
Instead we need to realize that we have a choice in this. I like to use an acronym in my coaching work that summarizes some of the important steps to take when we want to make good choices in yours life.
You want to remember that you are ABLE.
You are capable in dealing with this. You don’t have to freak out. You can manage your emotions.
First become fully aware of the situation
When things like the Coronavirus happen in the world, we tend to think that they are the reason for how bad we are feeling.
But the first thing I’d like you to realize is that the virus doesn’t make you feel anything.
It’s your THOUGHTS about the virus that make you feel something. ANY situation or event is neutral until you make it mean something.
You may think this is trivial thing to say but if we blame a circumstance or a person for how we feel, we assign responsibility for our feelings to something or someone else. When in fact WE think our own thoughts and it’s OUR own thoughts that determine how we feel.
That is really good news because we can change our thoughts.
Of course we all think that it’s the virus that’s turning our world upset down and makes us feel like we want to eat cookies all day. But that is not true.
Different people have different thoughts about the virus which will make them feel differently. Just realizing that you have a choice in this is good to remember.
Accept the circumstance
The other aspect about awareness is that you also have to accept the current situation.
So often we try to wish the circumstance away or pretend it isn’t there.
We have all kinds of worrysome thoughts about the situation which make us feel awful.
And then we don’t want to feel awful so we buffer with alcohol, cookies and other activities.
Although that is tempting to do, and sometimes it may also be the right thing to do do, it’s not going to help you move forwards.
Instead we want to see the situation for what it is, think consciously about it and then accept the feelings that come from that thought. We want to actually allow the feelings and not escape from them so we don’t have to buffer and we actually get things done.
Why you need to allow you feelings
Of course that can be easier said than done.
If we feel a lot of anxiety or fear, it can feel very unpleasant and we want to escape from these feelings. The problem is that when we do that, those feelings can then explode at some point and can spiral us out of control.
You don’t want that for yourself. You want to manage your emotions in such a way that you can make the right decisions for yourself and your family, not get too stressed (and keep your immunity high) and continue to do the things that are important for you.
Here is a quick 4 step plan you can use to manage your emotions
Take yourself through these four steps:
#1 Describe the feeling
When you start to feel panicked or anxious pretend that you’re describing the emotion to an alien. What does it feel like?
Is it warm or cold?
Heavy or light?
What color is it?
You may even want to go to the worst-case scenario of your thoughts here and just feel the feeling.
#2 Become curious about why the emotion is there
Do you know why you have the feeling that you have? Ask yourself why? Is the thought that’s causing it really true?
Remember: your feelings are created by your thoughts, so you want to know what’s going on in your mind. What are the thoughts circling in your head.
Write them all down. Get them out of your head and onto paper. This will create distance between the emotion and thought and you may find that it will start to soften.
#3 Allow the emotion to be there and allow it
Don’t resist it or fight it.
We often pretend it’s not there by just working harder. Or we know it’s there but we numb it by drinking, eating or watching a lot of Netflix.
Instead accept the emotion as part of your humanness and have compassion for yourself. ‘Of course that’s how I feel’. ‘ Of course that’s why I’m upset’. And that’s ok.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have to give into it and justify the escaping of it. You can carry the feeling around in a virtual purse and do the things you need to do anyway. Be ok with the feeling to be there.
#4 Open up to the emotion
When you open up to the emotion and allow it in and understand why it’s there, you will find that it will start to soften. You may be able to think other thoughts which cause other emotions which will allow you to make other decisions. Be open for all the possibilities.
I know that this is NOT easy. But I encourage you to try it, as it does work. If you’ve practiced the feeling of your worst-case scenario here, you may find that although the feeling wasn’t pleasant, you’re able to cope with it. You can exist even with the feeling to be there.
Next, believe in a better case scenario
The B in ABLE stands for believing.
Rather than expecting the worse, plan for a future where we have conquered this virus.
If you’ve always wanted to start a business or work from home, now may be the time to plan.
If you’ve always wanted to try and listen to a book, now may be a good time to try that. It’s actually one of my favorite things to do and i find it so relaxing to listen to a book. i thought I would give you some ideas of what to listen to and I created an extensive list of my favorite audio books.
If you’ve always wanted to have more style, now may be a good time to do my online style course.
For every negative thought that you have, also create a positive one.
Take the right actions
Now that you’ve become consciously aware of the current situation, accepted it and believe that we can resolve this in the long term, you can implement the L of the equation, which is to take lots of action.
If you need to homeschool your kids, you can make sure you get all the required materials.
If you had always wanted to learn a language, you can get started right away. I’ve actually taken up Portuguese right now as I’m still planning for my future in Portugal. It may take longer now before I can go there, but at least I will be better prepared!
Whenever you get lost or stuck, evaluate and go through this process again
If you’re still feeling very anxious after taking yourself through these steps or other feelings of helplessness or panic come up, evaluate again. That’s where the E from ABLE comes in.
Write down what’s going through your head? Where do you need to be kinder to yourself?
I often find that we can be our worst own critics.
We feel bad or perhaps act in a way that we’re not happy with. But then we start blaming ourself on top of that for how we acted.
For example, I found myself raising my voice at a bank officer recently whom I felt didn’t help me very well. Still feeling angry about that I snapped at my kid. Then I got mad at myself for all that, which made me feel even worse.
But that’s just adding an unwelcome emotion on top of another unwelcome emotion and just makes us feel worse.
Instead show compassion for yourself and take yourself through the ABLE process. Understand why it’s happening and coach yourself so you can manage your emotions better next time.
You are 100% able to cope with this crisis
But it’s more important than ever to become aware of your emotions and to manage them wisely.
Don’t push them away with avoiding and numbing tactics.
Awareness: first become aware of the emotion and the thoughts that created them and take yourself through the 4 step process to allow your emotions.
Believe:There is no benefit in dreaming up a worst case scenario. Instead think of your dreams for the future. Right now may be the perfect time to make preparations for those dreams or take steps towards your goals. This too shall pass.
Lots of action: take the appropriate action today to cope with it the best way you can and to do things that will benefit you in the future.
Evaluate: if you’re not getting the desired results, evaluate the first 3 steps and where ever needed, practice managing your emotions more.
I’ve also recorded a podcast so if you want to listen to that listen to it here.
I’ll definitely be looking at how i can best support you both through my website, social media and programs. If you like to let me know how I can best support you, you can leave a comment below.
For now, I wish you lots of strength and wisdom as you are managing the current situation in your life.
Remember: you are 100% capable and able to cope with it. Think of the ABLE acronym as something that can guide you.
You are more resilient than you think.
How are you currently managing the current situation? What has helped you?
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