Focus or Fear

It is unsettling to see how we have all been impacted mentally, emotionally, spiritually and economically, as the world strives to protect our physical health and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

With anxiety and panic running wild, it’s good to remember this simple truth:

Our attitude is as contagious as the Coronavirus, but we can choose our attitude!

When applied, a positive attitude can help us focus on those parts of the chaos we can control. This provides a calming effect on our parasympathetic nervous system which enables us to think and act more positively at this time of uncertainty.

With that in mind, here are 3 things we can choose to focus on that will benefit our health and wellbeing at this time:

1 - Seemingly small habits, repeated, can make a difference

In this case, washing our hands and maintaining an appropriate social distance. We know from Public Health evidence that this will make a difference to the spread of the Coronavirus.

We can also feed our souls by spending a few moments a day in active reflection, or by taking 5 minutes to pray for those closest to us. If you don’t believe in God, you can take a moment to think of other things that feed your soul, such as how thankful you are to have friends and family, or even the Internet!

Repeating these positive thoughts and actions will help bring a sense of peace, reduce anxiety and reinstate calm.

2 - We can choose what we focus on

Ruminating on the news, the same 4 walls, or binge-watching TV is most likely to negatively affect our mental health and drain our energy. However, it’s good to focus on the fact that we do have a choice in how we think and how we behave.

We can be intentional about limiting the amount of news and social media we watch, and instead, we can choose to keep active and mobile wherever possible.

This will help us stay well, physically and mentally, and will also help us with recovery if we are unfortunate enough to become ill. There are a number of free Apps and YouTube videos that can help us to be physically active in our living rooms. We can create exercise plans that involve repeatedly climbing the stairs or lifting baked bean cans and if we are really inspired, we could even challenge ourselves to do one more stair climb today than we did yesterday.

Of course, if it’s safe for you to go outside, taking a walk in the fresh air (while being intentional about remaining a safe distance from others) can really benefit our whole wellbeing.

Remember, when it comes to being active, doing something is better than nothing and doing something focuses our thoughts and energy in a more positive direction, as well as mopping up any toxic stress hormones that can suppress our immune system.

When we can’t go out, we can still try something positive, practical or creative, like writing a letter to a friend, tackling a puzzle, or getting stuck into an uplifting book or piece of art. 

3 - We can choose to be together

We feel better when we belong to a community, and we feel worse when we are disconnected. That’s precisely why the thought of isolation makes us anxious!

However, we suddenly have an opportunity to pause from a daily commute and “normal” routines - and we have technology. This means we can remain in isolation, without being isolated.

We can look for ways we can offer help to someone by picking up the phone and having a conversation with our neighbour. This will be beneficial to us, and to others in our communities.

I have already been invited to join a number of online local groups that share information about picking up prescriptions, connect with restaurants that are delivering cooked meals and include details of people offering to walk dogs! I think there’s even a term going round social media… #coronakindness!

My hope is that more of us focus on the goodness of ‘coronakindness’ over the fear of ‘Coronavirus’. If we can do this together, society may come out of this crisis in a better place than before and if so, my hope would be that we can look back in history and marvel at how our choices at this time made us healthier, kinder and more connected for many years to come.

Praying you stay safe, stay well, and stay positive, as together we help others to do the same.

Niky Dix  •  niky@intentionalhealth.uk 

Here at Intentional Health, we’ve had requests to share tips and ideas to help everybody be intentional about health and wellbeing while in isolation. If you want to receive emails with these as we create them over the next few weeks, please sign up using this link.

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