CALM IS THE CURE…for the spreading anxiety and grief we all feel in this unprecedented crisis.
As we navigate through these uncertain and tumultuous times, many are understandably struggling from the ensuing fear and anxiety generated from “Pandemic Panic”.
From the sudden, unexpected disruption to our accustomed way of life to the growing economic frenzy, I present some proven scientific strategies—based from my book Science of Happy Brain – Thriving in the Age of Anxiety, Anger and Addiction—to enhance our emotional and psychological resilience and to promote our physical immunity and societal stability. I advance strategies for us to cope with the grief and trauma.
In times of uncertainty, we instinctively revert to our primal “Survival Brain”—the innate biological “fight-or-flight response” for seeking safety, security and stability.
Thanks to our Survival Brain, we have evolved to solve problems in an unstable environment. Left unchecked, the Survival Brain fuels our despair, suspicion, and strife. Below are science-based solutions to overcome the sabotages created by our Survival Brain.
I hope you benefit from these tips that offer a “cure” to stay calm amidst chaos and find solace in times of grief.
The 4Cs for Keeping Calm in Crisis
- Boost your immunity through sleep, diet, exercise, and meditation.
View your health holistically—brain, body and being. Avoid sugar and processed foods, as they increase inflammation and suppress your immunity to disease. When feelings of anxiety or panic pops up, stop and take ten, slow, deep breaths. Science affirms that doing so will regulate your body’s “stress-response” system, strengthen your immune system, and increase resilience.
- Know it’s okay to acknowledge your fears, anxieties, and concerns.
Your emotions are real, so honor what you feel. Write them in your journal. Share them with others. Write, read, paint, sing, dance, play music. Practicing emotional and spiritual self-care can equally help you feel calm, centered, and in control. Remember that fear is not the final word.
- Do your part. Don’t hoard.
Practice proper hygiene for your and everyone else’s health. Keep your home, car, and workplace clean and comfortable. Be mindful that everyone requires sanitizing products, food, and basic essentials for staying healthy—especially populations most vulnerable to disease. Hoarding actually denies others access to resources that increases the risk of others becoming sick and the virus spreading.
- Sacrifices are heroic and patriotic.
We all will be required to make sacrifices and alter our way of life. If you’re required to self-isolate or have to cancel a trip, wedding, or graduation, remember that it’s for the ultimate welfare of society. Reframe your sacrifices as altruistic acts of civic duty and of patriotism for the greater good. If your kids are upset over scrapped vacations, birthdays, or family gatherings, call them “heroes” for their courage in understanding how their actions lower the risk of infection. Every single sacrifice saves society.
Create and sustain community. The current crisis exposes how we are far more interconnected and interdependent than we realize. Implementing “social distancing” doesn’t equate to “social disconnecting”. Show up for one another. Message the people you care about. Check in on a long-lost friend, family members, and your elderly neighbors. Have your kids make and send a video to grandparents they can’t visit.
While staying aware of news developments, don’t let the “pandemic panic” spread. Embrace social media only if it inspires you with hope or connects you with those you love. Block notifications and the constant barrage of social media that heighten your anxiety.
- Embrace your spiritual, religious, or cultural beliefs.
Find strength and solace in traditions, texts, rituals, practices, and upcoming holidays. Pray, meditate, reflect through song, in readings, through ancestors. Connect, even virtually, to a community that is helping people in need in your area.
- Practice kindness. Practice gratitude. Practice hope.
There is a natural tendency in times of chaos and confusion—especially health crises—to view “the other” as a potential threat. Stand in solidarity with those most economically vulnerable and who suffer the brunt of prejudice, bigotry, or hardship. Listen compassionately. Practice empathy. Kindness is key.
Remember, you are not alone. We are all in this together. Let’s embrace this time of confusion and change as a transitional state of opportunity—a sacred gift to create, innovate, transform, and renew.
This unprecedented historical moment may provide newness in the future we never thought possible. The more we trust in our collective power to endure and persist, the more we live fully into the goodness that awaits.
Humanity has endured much worse. We will prevail.
By learning to apply the 4Cs into our lives, we no longer are hijacked by the “Survival Brain” that locks us into a state of panic, fear, and despair.
The key to halt both the spread of the pandemic and of the pandemonium produced is for everyone to advance how “Calm Is the Cure”. #CalmIsTheCure
Stay Safe. Stay Strong. Stay Calm. Stay Connected.
Your Happiness Professor
Author, Science of a Happy Brain
Online Course: “Investing in Happiness”
Follow me @docjaykumar (FB, IG, LI, TW)