“Stay calm dealing with the unknown and insecurity. You will then see that outside storms of life, even the most terrible ones, will turn into soft winds.”
~ Mehmet Murat Ildan
We’re dealing with a lot right now. I think this Coronavirus situation has a lot of people concerned. I think a majority of it has to do with dealing with the unknown.
Jobs and schools have closed, the stock market has taken a hit as our way of daily living has been disrupted. How ugly can things get? No one has the answers and so we have to deal with the unknown.
To cope with this newfound level of uncertainty people have resorted to panic buying. The shelves at the grocery stores are empty. People are fighting over toilet paper. It’s mass hysteria out here in these streets. I went to a couple of gunshops the other day and they were packed with a lot of first-time gun buyers.
It’s understandable for people to be afraid. But it’s what we do with that fear that matters the most. You see what creates this mass hysteria is the inability for people to remain calm and think logically about what’s going on right now.
We become unfocused due to the fear and anxiety of other people. We have to develop a certain level of emotional intelligence when dealing with situations like this. Without emotional intelligence, we develop a lot of irrational tendencies. We do things that don’t make sense. The less information that we have, the more erratic and irrational our thoughts, actions, and decisions become.
To truly understand it all, we must first look at social panic and how it relates to fear and anxiety. What is social panic?
It’s a state where a social or community group reacts negatively and extremely or irrationally to unexpected or unforeseen changes in their expected social status quo. I think this is what we’re seeing right now. The media plays a crucial part in delivering social panic. This is done through exaggeration and distortion. The next you watch the news, listen to their choice of words.
The wording of these stories can make a minor problem seem more serious than it is. This can cause people to overreact and act irrationally. When we react in this way, we are doing so with limited information which can be due to lack of research on our own accord. Honestly, I usually believe the opposite of what is being said when it comes to the news and any other form of media. But that’s just me. So how do we deal with the unknown? How do we deal with uncertainty? How do we maintain emotional intelligence?
Focus On What Matters
Understand that every decision involves dealing with a little uncertainty. Right now, I think we should be focusing more on the long term instead of focusing on distractions and annoyances. The easiest way to get distracted is to have too much information floating around in our heads. Most of the time these things don’t bring any value to our lives. We spend and waste so much time and energy on things that don’t matter or add value to our lives that we forget about things that matter most to us. It seems like all logic goes out the window. This is what I think is currently happening with this Coronavirus outbreak.
Limit Your Exposure To Media
When we’re stressed out or when something is going on, we tend to consume a lot of media. It can be hard to look away. But we must find ways to limit our exposure to the news and other media outlets. These things can keep us wound up. I not saying don’t watch the news or any other forms of media. It’s good to stay informed of what’s going on in your community and around the world. What I’m saying is to limit your check-ins and the amount of time you consume media. Also, avoid consuming during vulnerable times of the day, such as right before bedtime or as soon as you wake up.
Avoid Dwelling On Things You Can’t Control
One of the biggest things that we like to do is dwell on things that are beyond our control. When we are faced with uncertainty, we tend to focus on the worst-case scenarios. We have to get out of the habit of ruminating about negative events. This Coronavirus situation is no different. We must be able to determine what we can control. Seriously, take a step back and look at the things that you can control. You can’t control how others act, but you can control how you react. Sometimes the only thing that you can control is your effort, attitude, and energy. By controlling these things, I believe that we become more effective in how we deal with things such as the unknown. Don’t become preoccupied with the uncertainties that you face. Remember, wherever you focus your attention, it usually determines your emotional state.
Keep Things In Perspective
With everything that’s going on right now, it may be difficult to keep things in perspective. It’s just so easy to get caught up in these situations and lose all perspective. Again, the media doesn’t help out at all due to so much exaggeration with each news story. It’s up to each one of us to think rationally and step back from many things to get a better picture of what next steps we need to take. Take a look at what you need to do, review your priorities, and then take action to move forward. We may see this time we face as being insurmountable. The reality is that we have overcome similar things like this in the past and I believe that we can do it again.
Seek Support From Others
One thing that I think many of us tend to forget is that we aren’t alone. In times like this, people tend to isolate themselves from others when they are stressed and worried. That’s why social support is so important. Don’t be afraid to seek support from those that you trust. It can be a family member, friend, mentor, or trusted colleague. I also think this is a good way to help you keep things in perspective. Seeking support from others can help you see things from a different perspective. I know everyone is isolated in their homes, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get the support that you need from others. We have all this technology and various ways to communicate. There’s no excuse. If you need the support, pick up the phone, send an email, video chat, whatever it is that you need, just do it. Now isn’t the time to be silent.
When things aren’t going well, it’s easy to panic. One thing about panicking is that it tends to make things worse. I think this is what people are doing right now. Everyone is going through these “what if” scenarios in their heads. This only serves to add more fuel to the fire of stress and worry. We know in life that things can go in a million different directions. We know that things will happen that are beyond our control. So why spend more time worrying about the possibilities? If we spend so much of our time thinking about “what if”, then we limit our ability to focus on taking action that will keep us calm and limit our stress. Focusing on “what if” leads us into a state of fear, panic, and chaos. So, try to stay calm. Your brain and body will thank you for it later.
In conclusion, I understand that we are going through a dark moment right now. How long will it last? I don’t know. But I don’t think it will last forever. We just have to embrace uncertainty and the unknown as a part of life. It’s natural to have fear about the future. But understand that fear serves no purpose. It only makes us focus on the negative. I think that uncertain times are a test of resilience, will, and character. We get to learn a lot about ourselves and how much we can overcome. Refocus your attention with positive thoughts.
Let’s face it, our stress levels are at an all-time high. Continuing to operate at this level causes all logic and rational thinking to go out of the window. As I said earlier, we have to be able to step back and analyze everything that we’re doing right now. Take a deep breath and relax a little bit. Ask yourself, “Am I okay right now?” If so, take your worry and stress down a notch. As long as you, your family and friends are alive and okay, you can always regroup and fight another day. I think that’s what it will boil down to. So, stay calm and take care of yourselves and each other. Thanks for reading.
About The Author
Mike Styles was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. A strong believer in the power of positive thinking in life, Mike regularly seeks ways to share his positive experiences with others. He hopes that he can inspire and motivate them in this journey called life. Mike enjoys writing, reading, and playing video games. He can also be found spending time with family and friends traveling or relaxing at home.
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“In this world, an ordinary life has become synonymous with a meaningless life.” ~Brené Brown