Early last week, when life was still the same for most of us and the Coronavirus was starting to gain a stronger presence in our state, I spent two days with high levels of anxiety to the point where I began to feel physically ill. This may come as a surprise for those of you who know me well and will agree that I'm a pretty relaxed and grounded person. You may even be more surprised this happened to me knowing that I am a Certified Life Coach, and "Life Coaches should be able to keep it together." I hope what doesn't come as a surprise to you is that I am also a Human Being, and last week I had nothing more or less than a human experience.
I am grateful for this experience because I can share it with everyone who wants to listen and learn from it as much as I have.
The two days I described above were rough. They were difficult because they paralyzed me. I was not myself. I did not honor my calendar. I was spinning in my head. I was living in so much terror within the walls of my own brain. I do have a self-coaching practice every day, and because I know that my thoughts cause my emotions, I sat down with pen and paper and wrote down all the thoughts I was having. My thoughts ranged anywhere from "I can't believe the stores are running out of toilet paper," and "my net worth has gone down substantially," to "my mom could die alone in Argentina from the coronavirus." Even though these thoughts combined were already enough to create my anxiety, I knew that the worst of them was that my mom was at a very high risk of being infected and could die. This thought created extreme anxiety to the point of being in a state of panic, which showed itself in my body in the form of shortness of breath and nausea.
When I identified the source of my anxiety, I self-coached myself by separating everything I knew to be factual from my thoughts about it. I wrote down the statistics that we had from around the globe at that time and what scientists were saying. My brain interpreted this circumstance as "my mom is in danger and could die." I then recognized that my brain was just doing its job. Nothing had gone wrong. My primitive brain was alarmed at the signs of danger and sending me signals to retrieve, hide, and take cover. It did so in the form of anxiety and panic. I stopped everything that I had scheduled to work on and was left paralyzed.
By thinking my mom was in danger and could die, I was making myself sick. I brought these findings to my Life Coach, who helped me further dissect and question my thoughts. I walked away with so much awareness that I was able to drop these thoughts and focus on accepting the circumstances in our world for what they are in the current moment. My mom is alive and well right now. I am alive and well right now. Lots of things are happening all around me, but I have the choice to pick the lens through which I want to view it all.
Since I experienced this, I have continued to manage my mind around the Coronavirus. I've realized that as a community, our collective thoughts have created collective results for all of us. Empty shelves at the grocery stores and a shortage of medical supplies. Now, before I subscribe to the collective thinking, I will ask myself, "what is the upside to thinking this way?" If I don't see any, I will not allow myself to adopt that thought. This exercise has stopped me from hunting for toilet paper, and instead, I want to know who is the lady in her 70's living alone in my neighborhood, has a compromised immune system, and has a daughter on the other side of the world? She needs me to buy toilet paper for her. This is what I have control over.
As I have managed my mind, I have directed my brain to see all the good around me. My love for my partner has grown even more as I watch him be put to the test and be an example to me of strength and courage. I can also find appreciation in my ex-husband's efforts as he takes on the role of homeschooling our kids while he has to work from home. I see the opportunities for self-reflection all around me.
There are no doubts that the Coronavirus will have its casualties. Still, along the way, I can say for myself, that I have already received the gift of further discernment and understanding of how my brain works that are helping me feel more connected to myself and those around me. I feel empowered and blessed.
If you would like to experience the power of coaching, please reach out. I'm here for you.