Shifting your Perspective when Facing A Crisis: Taking the Power Back

Over the past few weeks since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, fear and anxiety have been on a high. Our social media and the news have been flooded with stories related to the Coronavirus, and how ‘grim’ the situation is, which only contributed to its sharp incline.

Otherwise, rational people act erratically and irrationally by stockpiling non-essential items such as toilet paper, even if it means risking infection by standing in queues for hours.

The high levels of fear and anxiety that people have been experiencing are directly caused by the uncertainty associated with the virus and the potential effects it could have on our livelihoods.

The fact that uncertainty can cause fear, panic, and anxiety is because at the root the need for certainty is based on the need to feel in control. When we are unsure of what our future looks like when we are unsure of how long we will be in lockdown, it highlights the lack of control we have over our lives which gives rise to fear and anxiety.

But it’s important to understand what the need for control is. We human beings are never in complete control of our lives; it is instead the sense of control that gives us peace of mind. This virus is a perfect example. Before its breakout, I am sure many of you would say that you were in control of your life and might even have had plans for Easter, or some goals you wanted to achieve. But everything changed in a moment and proved that we are not in complete control. Yes, this might be a very rare happening, but everyday people have plans for ‘tomorrow’ yet don’t make it to ‘tomorrow’.

This is not to paint a grim picture of life, but to make us understand that there will always be things outside of our control, making peace with this fact will allow you to become more grateful and mindful of the moment.

We are all familiar with this principle of faith, religious principles and practices are built on it.

Another important point is that this false control doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan and that we can’t shape our future. This is where the important principle of faith comes in.

If you think it is restricted only to religion, then you are mistaken. This is the main principle on which our ability to plan is based on. When we put our heads down at night, we have faith that we are going to wake up the next day. When we get ready and commute to work, we have faith we will get safely to our destination. Any form of planning involves this construct of faith. We don’t question whether we will make it to work safely, whether we will wake up tomorrow, whether the sun will rise or whether we will see our next birthday. We make plans for the weekend, the holidays, for our future. Unless our idea of ‘normal life’ gets shaken up by some event, such as an accident, unexpected death, an unplanned pregnancy, and as in the current case – a global pandemic like the Coronavirus.

But it is in these times that we use our ability to adapt to the change and once again have faith that the new course of plans we have will work out.

Now that you understand the importance faith plays in our lives, I would like to share three ways to look at the current challenge that will increase your belief and faith that everything will work out.

Dream big and show the world what a life of possibility looks like.

1. Challenges are Part of Human Life.

I am yet to meet a person who hasn’t faced any form of challenges. Challenges come in different forms, such as failing a test, quitting a job and starting a business, or deciding to be a great hands-on parent while working two jobs to support your kids.

Whatever the challenge you faced, you have made it through it. Even though things seemed really tough at the moment, and you didn’t know how you would make it through – but you did.

So a great way to develop greater faith is to look back at the trying and challenging times that you faced, and recall the thoughts and emotions you had. Yes, you survived challenging times before and you will again.

2. Be in harmony with the principles of nature.

There are seasons in life, sometimes instead of fighting the season, you are in, start living in harmony with it and preparing for the next season.

If your boat is beached because the tide is out, you can either complain and tire yourself out by trying to get the boat out to sea – or you can be ‘wise’ enough to have faith that the tide will come back, and therefore start cleaning and preparing your boat for your journey.

3. What if this crisis was your cocoon? Think of the caterpillar. I don’t think if a caterpillar was given the freedom of choice we human beings enjoy that it would want to go into the dark cocoon. It could think to itself that I am happy with the way life is and start becoming fearful of what could be on the other side. What if our ability to choose, analyse and plan is causing us to be fearful of going into our cocoon and transforming into something beautiful. Yes, this might be a challenging time that you are facing, yes, your life might not ever go back to ‘normal’. But what if you embraced this challenging time, found the opportunities to grow and emerge on the other side way better than you could’ve thought. Remember that adopting a grim and pessimistic view won’t allow you to thrive, because you will be stuck in survival mode. Therefore, I encourage you to find the opportunity and take a view that empowers you to plant the seeds that will allow you to thrive.

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