Just turn on the news, and you will get a blast of fear and uncertainty. Both are prevalent worldwide right now because of Covid-19.
We are all connected, and we are all dealing with this coronavirus together. Some of us are even more attuned to this virus threat due to underlying health conditions, a current illness, or our age. My husband has a compromised immune system due to a rare heart condition. He is on high levels of immunosuppressant drugs, so this virus is a very real threat for him.
I watched President Donald Trump’s address to the nation Wednesday night and then watched more news on CNN. Within a short period of time, I began feeling the collective fear and panic of our society, and I felt like crying. I soon noticed fear rising in my own body, mind, and spirit.
If you too are struggling with the fear that is currently encircling all of us, I invite you to try the following exercise.
The first step is to step back and become the witness to yourself. Ask, “What am I thinking and feeling right now?”
The fearful thought might be the easiest thing to identify. Maybe you are thinking, “I am afraid that I will get this virus,” for example.
Next notice what you’re feeling: afraid, anxious, worried, concerned. Accept whatever words your mind provides for the feeling, understanding that these words are all likely to represent variations of fear.
Now shift your attention to your body. Where are you feeling your feelings within your body? In your chest? In your stomach? Take a moment and breathe into this specific area of your body. Breathe into this area of your body until you feel the fear lessen or let go a bit.
When you feel ready, put your hand on your lower belly and take a deep breath in. Feel your belly expand on the in-breath and recede on the out-breath.
With these belly breaths, you are automatically activating your body’s natural relaxation response, which includes lowering your blood pressure, your heart rate, and your cortisol levels. Take as many deep breaths, in and out, as you need to feel calm.
Once you are feeling calmer, you can choose to replace your original thought with a new, more positive and affirming one. For example, “ I am strong, resilient, and I am okay.” This positive thought will not only feel good, but is also helping create new neural pathways in your brain. Keep breathing deeply as you repeat this new thought to yourself a few times.
Now bring to mind a positive memory. Maybe it is a memory of walking on the beach at sunset, having a family dinner, or spending time with your best friend. Don’t just see what you were doing at the time; really feel all the wonderful sensations you felt too. Take in the good feelings and savor them. This memory and its feelings will add to your growing good feelings.
Now bring your attention back to your breathing. When you focus on your breath, you can let go of your thinking mind, with all its thoughts of the past, the many what ifs, and the worst-case scenarios. Fear and anxiety naturally dissipates, and peace, love, and joy can arise.
In this moment, it’s just you and your breath. In this moment, you are completely alive. In this moment, you can fully experience the love, joy, and peace that are here for all of us. In this moment, you are pure presence, pure essence, pure consciousness.
I experience this state as oneness with God. You may experience it as touching into your true nature, Source, Universe, or life energy. From this state, you can tap in to the creativity and guidance that are also here for all of us.
- Become aware. Ask, “What am I thinking and feeling?”
- Identify your fearful thought.
- Name what you’re feeling.
- Feel what you’re feeling. Where are you feeling it in your body?
- Breathe into the part of your body holding the fear (or other feelings).
- Put your hand on your lower belly and breathe deeply.
- Replace your fearful thoughts with a positive thought: “I am strong and taking one day at a time,” for example.
- Go to a positive memory. Feel the good feelings within that memory and take them into your body.
- Return to the present moment by focusing on your breathing. Stay here, in the present moment, with your breath, and enjoy the peace, joy, and other sensations that arise.
Here’s a bonus self-soothing exercise. It’s a short one, and you can do it whenever you feel fear coming up for you.
Put your hands on your heart area. Feel the warmth of your hands on your body. Our bodies always respond to physical touch, and your body will start to relax and feel calm.
Say out loud or to yourself, “May I be at peace.” Breathe deeply and feel peace move through your entire body.
Every time you do one of these exercises, you are consciously taking a step away from panic and fear. You are preventing fear and anxiety from running your life. You are becoming the master of your mind.
We always have two choices: to live in fear or to live in hope, peace, and love. May you choose hope, peace, and love.