Today, we are in the midst of what many are calling, a global crisis. Sending our children off to school, walking into a highly populated store, sitting on a train next to a fellow passenger; these events a few months ago may not have triggered any discomfort or uncertainty.
Today however, these seemingly neutral tasks have ignited a world of anxiety within each of us as the Coronavirus, also knows as COVID-19, continues to spread.
It seems almost impossible to turn the television on, scroll through your phone or engage in conversation without mention of this potential pandemic. In times like these, where anxiety and fear seem to be flowing through every crack and crevice, one might find it beneficial to take a moment to self reflect on how they are allowing this information to impact their day to day existence.
What does your reaction to the news of the Coronavirus say about you?
Chances are, the way you react to this news could shed some insight into how you have historically handled uncertainty and adversity throughout your life.
When news of the Coronavirus became public, many individuals worked to be on top of it to protect themselves and their families – cancelling trips, avoiding heavily populated areas, wearing masks, missing social events and sanitizing all areas of their homes and bodies to ensure safety and security.
Some individuals needed to place blame for the existence of the Coronavirus to help give them an outlet to release the anxiety and frustration they were experiencing. Whether it was an entire country’s fault, certain demographics or even specific individuals, some felt most reassured when pointing the finger at others.
Others found comfort in minimizing its presence, calmly reassuring friends and family that this was nothing to worry about and that life should continue as normal. As others prepared for the worst, these individuals avoided giving any thought or energy to its existence.
Additionally, there were those that heard the news and immediately began to worry, becoming paralyzed in the thought of this global pandemic forever altering life as we know it. These individuals ruminate over the possible outcomes, worrying about the uncertainties that lie ahead and fixating on all that could go wrong.
Although these potential responses all appear to vary greatly, the truth is that they are connected by one simple reality – when uncertainty occurs, we as individuals seek to gain control over the situation. And as seen above, this “control” can present itself in many different ways
Do you fall under any of these categories? If so, is this reaction indicative of how you handle most adversity in your life? Chances are, the answer is yes, because how you do anything is how you do everything.
This moment in time presents an opportunity for deeper self awareness and insight into how you have conditioned your mind to overcome the anxiety-producing gray areas in your own life. Where power has been displaced onto anxious fears of our own and those of others, we must work to redirect that power back to our own rational mind.
How do we do that?
We begin by allowing ourselves to identify the feelings we are experiencing; to admit to the discomfort and fear of the uncertainties that lie before us. We then seek to differentiate between what we can and cannot control.
In this solution oriented mindset, we can work to regain power – what can we do to take accountability for ourselves. In a situation like the Coronavirus, that may include choosing foods that will boost our immunity, ensuring that we maintain hygiene and cleanliness, and educating ourselves about the virus with actual facts and findings.
Through this proactive approach, we gain awareness of our own thoughts and feelings in order to establish healthier, more rational responses when uncertainty presents itself.
Nikki P. Woods, MSW, LCSW
Nikki Woods is a highly-sought after licensed clinical psychotherapist and founder of the Navesink Wellness Center in Rumson, New Jersey. After earning her Masters Degree at New York University, Nikki dedicated her career to studying the intricacies of the developing female mind. In her practice (both locally and globally), she empowers mothers to better support their daughters’ development, and assists young women in channeling their own voice – one built on self awareness, acceptance and love.
Her intuitive and insightful approach helps clients gain a greater sense of self worth, pursue life goals, improve relationship dysfunction, establish a more defined identity, and celebrate their own unique assets and capabilities. Her work has been featured in top publications such as Forbes and Inc. She works with patients both locally in Rumson, New Jersey as well as globally via her remote psychotherapy offerings.
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