Updated: Nov 17, 2020
The tools I’m sharing in this post are ones that you can bring into your day-to-day life to alleviate anxiety and feel better no matter what’s going on.
We can choose our thoughts, which can applied it to coronavirus anxiety, or any other kind of anxiety
This method has three steps:
Notice the fearful thought
Forgive the thought
Proactively choose a better-feeling thought
1. Notice the Thought
So the first step is to witness your fearful thoughts getting out of control. In any moment we can notice that that coronavirus story is on loop in our minds. We’re feeling pressure and uncertainty and fear. Just be gentle with yourself about having the thought: “Okay, there it is. Of course I’m having it.”
Let yourself be really present with the thought, and identify where you feel it in your body. When we have a fear-based thought, there’s also a physical response to it, so we want to make sure we don’t neglect our body on our journey of getting back to a place of ease. Some may feel an overall sense of tension.
Give yourself a chance to notice where you feel the anxiety, uncertainty, fear in your body. Then take a deep breath. Breathe into that space in your body. Honour the feeling, honour the thought. That’s the first step.
2. Forgive the fear-based thought
The second step is to forgive yourself for getting caught in the thought — and forgive the thought altogether.
You may be thinking, “Why do I need to forgive myself for having a thought about something that’s real?”
We want to forgive ourselves for getting hooked into the obsessive ideas, panic and catastrophising. (For example, maybe we’re completely healthy, but we’re constantly thinking about being unwell.) So just forgive yourself for going there. You can simply say, “I forgive this thought.”
If you have a thought on repeat and you’re repeating it over and over again, then you’ll start to believe that thought is your reality — that it’s who you are. Yes, there is a pandemic going on and it is our reality. But you can choose how you choose to perceive your situation. You can choose the how of your experience. We can release our thoughts by forgiving them.
3. Choose Again
The third step is to choose again. This is a very powerful technique of lifting yourself out of that hole of that fear-based thought. Maybe the thought is something like:
“I’m going to get the coronavirus and I’m terrified.”
“I’m scared because somebody was coughing.”
“I can’t sleep because of these stories.”
Whatever the thought is, once you’ve witnessed it and forgiven it, you then want to reach for the next best-feeling thought. The best-feeling thought, in this case, can be something very simple, like:
“I’m healthy right now.”
“I’m taking proper precautions.”
“I have what I need in this moment.”
One by one, reach for the thoughts that make you feel better. Whatever it is that helps you to feel good, keep reaching for those thoughts and guide yourself out of the chaotic state.
If we keep perpetuating the fear-based story, what happens is that it builds up a lot of momentum. And frankly, it already has. It’s already built up a tremendous amount of momentum, and that momentum is just going to get stronger.
Take a look at this verses from the Bible, Philippians, Chapter 4, verses 6 to 8:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things."
As people on a spiritual path, we have the ability to change our thoughts. We can undo the negative momentum and start to create momentum into a higher level of thinking. We want to be seeking solutions rather than creating more momentum around problems.
This article was adapted and edited, from Gabby, Spiritual Tools to Relieve Anxiety About the Coronavirus, March 13, 2020.
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