I live in San Francisco, and we were recently issued a public health order to shelter in place. This, obviously, has completely disrupted the normal business and family operations of everyone, not just in San Francisco, but all across the country.
Schools and bars are closed, kids are home, and tensions are high. But even in the worst of times, we still have the ability to control our thoughts and choose the things that we allow to influence our mindset.
Here are three things that you can do to help improve your mindset and help this situation for everyone else.
STOP Listening to the News!
The news is a cacophony of stressful, mind-blowing, fear-inducing information and a catalog of the worst things that our world has to offer. To top it all off, we're constantly bombarded with it from the time we wake up until the time we go to bed.
Yes, while it's important to stay up-to-date with what is going on, especially in these trying times, we don't have to constantly subject ourselves to that negative barrage of information. We can choose how and when to partake. Most people passively listen to the news all day, and as a result all of that negativity and fear gets absorbed by our subconscious mind.
Try this instead: Choose a specific time during the day (an hour at most) in which you will catch up on everything that is going on. This time should not be first thing in the morning or the last thing at night. If we begin our day with stress and fear, our entire day will be stressful and fearful. When we end our day with negativity, it stays in our minds, thoughts, and dreams as we sleep. Find a time in the middle of the day, during lunch for instance, when we have the time and mental bandwidth to actually act on any new information.
The news will not change that much and the only thing you will be missing by doing this is the addition of stress and fear to your day.
Stay OFF Social Media!
Even in the best of times social media can be damaging to us. But we're not in the best of times. You know that share button that everyone loves so much? That innocent little button can do more viral damage than the coronavirus ever could. Stop using it to share "news" about the coronavirus!!! Social media is not a news source! It is a hodgepodge of myths, rumors, bad-facts, and, in some cases, straight up purposeful misinformation, misdirection, and hatred.
Every single person in this country knows how to find a reliable source of news. You are doing nobody any favors by sharing this misinformation. Don't share the post if you are not 100% sure of these three things:
- All the facts and current recommendations,
- Who is supplying you with that information, and
- The source of that data and information.
You can simply think to yourself,
"Hrm, that's an interesting post, but it's not a cat so I won't share it."
Random Internet Guy
We will all be better off. Unless of course that cat is washing its hands.
Finally, if you do use social media for your only source of news, at least use a more trusted network, like Nextdoor.com, which has articles and posts by your actual neighbors and local community leaders, not random posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube which quite literally can be from anyone, anywhere, and with any agenda.
Stay in the Present!
Staying in the present is so vitally important now. When we read and hear everything that is going on, we naturally and instinctively go into the future to imagine the worst case scenarios of what could happen.
Let's collectively, as a country and people, focus on the bigger picture: Acting with love, respect, and kindness toward our neighbors will always trump politics, mass hysteria, and yes, even toilet paper.
One of the best ways we can return to the present is by taking 10 minutes out of our day to meditate (or pray). Even with a house full of rowdy kids, you can find time to yourself. For some of us, the best place during the day to find this peace and quiet is the bathroom. Find a song that you like, a YouTube video, or something similar to listen to as a way to control your breathing, your frustration, your anger, and your fear.
Remember, you can choose to either react or to respond to any situation. How will you respond? You have that power. Just for today, just for right now, imagine what it would look like to let go of that anger, helplessness, and fear to just be present and grateful for everything that you do have. Give your neighbors the same kindness and respect that you would want.
Grief Student, Speaker, and Entrepreneur who writes and speaks about grief to anyone who will listen.