Seeing Opportunity in a PandemicRight now, we have the highest percentage of people suffering over the impact of the Coronavirus. I hope in some way I can cast a positive light on this situation and cause a turnaround in how this is being viewed by the majority of people in the world. Every single problem in your life also represents an opportunity. It’s a matter of how you look at it. Granted the Coronavirus has disrupted our everyday life in excruciating ways. That is true. Yes, the Coronavirus has caused severe economic hardship to individuals, businesses and organizations. And yes, the Coronavirus has caused human beings to suffer greatly. While I will not be specifically addressing the suffering in this post, I wrote a post titled How to Be Happy When You Are Suffering or Life is Bad, which may be helpful to you now depending on your ability to deal with suffering. I address the financial impacts later on in this post. We all understand the negative impact of the Coronavirus on our lives. Yet the same disruption offers you a golden opportunity. The Coronavirus offers you a moment in time to completely change your life for the better because this situation offers you the gift of time. You now have time that you have longed for and yearned for. It just didn’t come in the way that you expected it. Time is precious. Life is precious. You have the gift of unplanned time even though it has come in a somewhat shocking way and with some hefty consequences. So many of you are filled with such worry, anxiety, depression or panic that you are not functioning or you are not functioning well right now. I understand. I have compassion for where you are. My request is that you read this post in full with an open mind and heart. Are you willing to have this Coronavirus be a golden opportunity for you and your life? Are you willing to do what it takes such that when you look back, all negatives aside, you can see that the Coronavirus was overall a very positive and life changing event – where your life changed for the better? Do you believe that is even possible? Or do you want to be a victim to all that you have lost? Do you want to be happy and productive during this unplanned interruption to your life? It’s okay whatever you choose, just be clear that you are choosing your point of view. I am talking about a shift in your thinking. I am talking about a shift in how you do life. A shift in how you live life – a positive earth-shattering gift to yourself. To help you make the shift I am going to address a few key areas, which deal with your emotions and perspective.
Reality vs. Fiction/ Rational vs Irrational Fears and BehaviorsHaving spend two decades dealing with health issues with people that I love – I happen to know a lot more about health and wellness than the average person. Part of what is happening in society and the world is not based on fact, statistics or reality. You have a much, much higher chance of dying from a number of things you are exposed to in everyday life than you will ever have from the Coronavirus. At this stage, I hate to go into how much higher your chances of dying are from more common life events and situations because you are already in a heightened state of worry and fear and I believe that would be more harmful than helpful. I have all kinds of statistics about how people die in the U.S. at least and it’s not pretty. Suffice to say, your chances of dying are significantly higher by umpteen percent from things other than the Coronavirus. Given that the statistics and facts do not support the level of fear, panic and worry that is present in society then we have to look at the fact that what you are concerned about falls into the irrational category. With most things shut down and people practicing good hand-washing hygiene, social distancing, etc. – things are under control. Having had a child with no immune system for too many years, I know about how germs are spread and how to avoid catching a cold or the flu. One of the reasons that colds and the flu spreads at all is because people walk around in life when they are sick and not always out of necessity. It’s clearly not necessary for someone to go to church when they are sneezing or coughing – yet they do. We have become cavalier about sending kids to school sick, about going to work sick, about doing everything sick. Hopefully that has changed. We would ALL be better off – all year round – IF people would just stay home when they are sick. Doctors and the medical community have been banging the drums for many years about the overuse of antibiotics for bacterial infections to the point that it is a severe problem because the bacteria have changed such that the bacteria have become resistant to many antibiotics. Meaning antibiotics don’t have the same effectiveness. I won’t address the severity of this issue in this post because it’s too involved. TRUST ME – IF we can get the people of the U.S. and the World to STAY HOME when they are sick – WE will ALL benefit in ways that you can’t imagine. Bottom line: The panic, fears, worry and concern over the Coronavirus are irrational unless you have been traveling or exposed to someone who actually has the virus.
Managing Your EmotionsI understand you are feeling panic, fear, anxiety, worry, depression and so on. I want to help you deal with your emotions so that you can get unstuck and move to a more functional, productive and empowered position during this time and moving forward. Overall, speaking in general, we live in a world where happiness is an elusive concept and unhappiness, anxiety, worry and fear run the day. I don’t work like that. As a result, I blog about how to be happy and have joy in your life. If you experience anxiety, depression and worries NORMALLY or typically, of course you would have increased anxiety, worry, depression and when life gets disrupted. Because what else could happen? It is your normal way of functioning in life so the Coronavirus would exacerbate that. While I am not a psychotherapist or medical professional in any regard, what I am an expert in is how to function powerfully in life without many worries, little anxiety and low amounts of fear even under traumatic circumstances. I say that as full self-disclosure so you don’t get the wrong idea and think that I am a therapist or medical professional. Apparently, I am an expert in dealing with trauma and the habits, practices, coping mechanisms, attitudes and beliefs to function well during a trauma. I believe much of the unhappiness, depression, health problems and anxiety can be traced to the fact that people, in general, are not directing their own lives. We graduate from high school (hopefully), either go to college or trade school or get a job and life begins. We often then become like hamsters on a wheel going around and around and around again. Most people rarely stop and actively engage in directing and planning their future. We just go through life. Life just happens. Given the statistics on the lack of happiness in the world, which over the years is increasing, we are generally speaking not too happy in life. What would happen if you used the Coronavirus as an opportunity to actively think about what YOU want your future to look like? If you could create your future to be anything imaginable, then what would it look like? What are your hopes and dreams for the future and your life? What would make you happy? What would inspire you? What would you create IF you believed that you could have any future that you can think of? This, in and of itself, is scary to some people because there’s a certain level of resignation in society. There’s a certain level of “this is just how it is for me” mentality. That’s all fine and good. It’s just not a powerful position to take. I am inviting you to stop and use this time to draw a line in the sand and alter the trajectory of your future. When you take charge of your own life and you are intentionally taking actions to get you where you want to be, you will naturally have less anxiety and worry. When you are creating a life that you want, of course you would experience little or no depression because you would be creating a life that makes you happy! If you are creating your future – a future you have freely chosen – then you should experience a great deal of happiness, peace, satisfaction and joy. After all, you are doing what you have decided. We, as a society, are overrun with problems and issues and we lack (in my opinion) the skills, habits and practices to FUNCTION WELL in life. That is what my blog is all about – how to function well in life and be happy no matter what. I recently blogged about worry and fear in a post titled: Worry & Fear Hurt Your Health: 15 Tips to Overpower Fear & Worry & Start Taking Risks. That will help you with taking steps to permanently reduce worry and fear. In my layperson opinion, having coached people for many years – once people have a plan for their future and start taking the actions to achieve their dream life – it is magical. It is so awesome I can hardly speak! It is miraculous. It brings me to tears. YOU might want to consider your future. You might want to consider your dream life. You might want to read ALL of my blog posts starting from the beginning because there are 30 FREE juicy posts packed with ideas and suggestions on how to get more LOVE in your life and be HAPPY. Right now, you have the unplanned gift of time so you have plenty of time to read posts designed to empower you and help you be happier! For now, in the short term – just choose. Just choose to finish reading this post, look over the ideas on what you could be doing, and just start. If your mind is occupied doing a task you will have less mental ability to worry. You could choose to be happy about the gift of time you have been given. That is up to you. Keep reading. Financial Concerns With the stock market as far down as it is or has been, there are obvious financial concerns. I do not take financial concerns lightly – ever. And as someone starting over at 58 with pretty much nothing, I have more empathy and compassion for the financial hit you have taken with your retirement or investments. What I know from my limited knowledge of the stock market is that they periodically go down, think of the Great Depression, but the stock market ALWAYS comes back up. Or at least in all of history it always comes up. It just takes time and enough people to be reasonable and rational and not hit the panic button. Hitting the panic button almost always makes things worse. In the stock market and investment world – it always makes things worse in my opinion. You may have lost 25% or more of your retirement or investments. Let the dust settle and let life get back to normal and then you can make a financial plan. Then you can plan for how to deal with your new financial situation. What is not going to help you is to panic and sell your investments at a loss. Then you really are at a loss. Talk to your financial advisor. Study the stock market to better understand what to do when it goes down. Do NOT panic. That’s just not going to helpful! When all of my money was taken fraudulently, once I recovered from the shock that neither law enforcement, the FBI nor the judicial system was going to get my money returned to me, I sucked it up and I planned. I have a bold and beautiful plan, which I am working on every day. Breathe. Do the mental processing of your emotions and then when the opportunity presents itself you can come up with a plan for the future. Just don’t make hasty decisions. Have faith that things will work out. If you are a pessimist, then that’s a tall order. If you don’t know about the self-fulfilling prophecy, then it’s high time you understood that concept. What you believe will happen mostly does. What you believe will not happen – often doesn’t happen. There’s more psychology behind that – look it up. For now, just have faith that things will work out.
52 Things You Can Do Right Now to Make Your Life Better
- Get your game on.
- Plan your future.
- File your taxes.
- Call a friend – everyday.
- Send a card to someone.
- Go for a walk everyday if you are able.
- Make a juicy bucket list.
- Make a list of everything you would love to do in this period of time.
- Clean up your emails in your inbox.
- Learn how to make a new dish or learn to cook.
- Organize your pictures or order copies of pictures online.
- Figure out a reward system to motivate you during this time. Reward systems, personally designed self-reward systems, really do work well. See my post titled Self-Motivation: The Nuts & Bolts of Leveling Up with a Reward System, February 18, 2020.
- Clean out or organize anything – your fridge, your living space, your sock drawer.
- Take an online test of your emotional quotient. See what there is that you can do to improve in this area. Not sure what emotional quotient is? See my post titled Top 17 Benefits to High Emotional Intelligence and Why It’s Important, October 25, 2019. This is important to your quality of life in my opinion.
- Start purging any clothing or shoes you don’t wear, don’t fit, or really don’t need. Someone would love to have the stuff you don’t want.
- Work on a hobby. I am a huge fan of hobbies because they are really good for people in a lot of ways. Don’t have any hobbies? Read my post titled How Hobbies Can Help You Love Your Life and the Top 23 Reasons You Should Hobby Up, December 11, 2019.
- Take a hot bath and relax. Add Epsom salts if you have some.
- Plan a road trip for when life is back to normal.
- Reconnect with high school or college friends, old co-workers, old neighbors, etc.
- Get goals for the week, month or year. Get a buddy to join you in this new adventure of goal setting and goal attainment. Support each other in having beautiful new futures.
- Write a letter to someone – a former teacher, professor, priest, Rabbi, coach, or someone else who made a difference in your life and thank them! Let them know that they had an impact on your life.
- Organize your food supplies. What do you even have? Make an inventory and plan your meals.
- Bake cookies to share or some other goodie.
- Listen to music you love while you are doing other things from this list.
- Make “well check” calls to people who live alone and see how they are doing and if they need anything.
- Pray or meditate because that is very calming.
- Read an inspirational book or story.
- Tell the people in your life how much they mean to you.
- Watch a funny movie or sitcom. Laugh as much as you can. That’s a practice I recommend for daily living.
- Delete old pictures and videos from your phone or computer or upload pictures and videos from your phone to your computer.
- Clean your computer screen and keyboard.
- Clean out your wallet or purse.
- Go through crowdfunding sites and find a worthy cause to donate to. Donate to that cause.
- Play a game called “Clean Out Every Drawer” and then systematically clean out every drawer you have. Best played with a friend or family member for fun – make it fun people! I highly recommend a reward for doing this – or even a small reward for each drawer. Why not?
- Back up your computer and laptop files. No! Really – do this!
- Play a “I Have IT WHO Wants It Game” on social media to find homes for the items you have amassed during your cleaning out. This is really fun! I did it in 2019 when I was cleaning out. I mean this was extremely fun and people were overjoyed to get some of my stuff.
- Wash your bedspread or comforter.
- Play a game with a friend called “First One to Fill Up a Black Trash Bag Wins” and race to fill up a black trash bag with stuff you just don’t need. Obviously, you will have a prize for whoever wins.
- Clean your coffee pot.
- File your personal papers. I mean who doesn’t have personal papers that need to be filed or dealt with?
- Start doing affirmations if you are feeling anxious, worried or fearful or otherwise struggling. Affirmations could be very simple like: “It’s all going to work out”. I love this one from the I Surrender Novena – “Oh Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything.” You can find lots of affirmations online. Find one that works for you.
- Make a list of habits and practices that would help you have a better life and start doing them now. Hint: There’s plenty of habits and practices in my previous 30 blog posts to help you with that.
- Practice gratitude. If you aren’t feeling grateful, then write up a list of things that you can be grateful for. If you are really struggling with gratitude then I would suggest that you go online and study poverty in third world countries. Gratitude is such a powerful emotion. Start each day being grateful for what you have.
- Do a health assessment. How is your health? What can you do to improve your health? Make a list of what you can do to be healthier and start doing that. It’s much easier to be happy when you are healthy and feel good.
- Mending fences: Take the actions necessary to mend any fences and repair broken relationships that are important to you.
- Make a list of upcoming milestones in either your life or the lives of the people you love and decide how you will celebrate those milestones and accomplishments. There is no time like the present to plan fun stuff like that!
- Get complete. There is absolute power in completion. Completing tasks. Completing projects. Completing relationships. Make a list of everything that is incomplete in your life and then get to work on that. To help you better understand what I am talking about you can read my post titled The LOVE and POWER of Completion, September 16, 2019.
- Increase your nutrition in anyway possible. To understand the significance of how important nutrition is to your health you can read my post titled The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Nutrition, Why It Matters and How It Could Save or Change your Life.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed then it’s high time to deal with that. I have written all about overwhelm and how to put overwhelm to an end in my post titled Dealing with Overwhelm: How to Put an End to Feeling Overwhelmed with Life Once and For All Plus 29 Tips to help you in the Meantime.
- Do a self-assessment of where you stand with integrity in your life. Do you live a life that is full of integrity? Do you almost always keep your promises to other people? Once you have done an assessment of your integrity then make a plan to bring yourself into full integrity. I am beyond a fan of integrity. I blogged about it in a post titled The Sheer Joy and Magic of Integrity.
- Assess your time management and list making skills. Not a fan of time management or making lists? To be fully empowered and engaged in creating your life you will want to have rock solid time management and list making skills. I have written about this in two posts: LOVE the TIME of YOUR LIFE – and Top 35 Ways that Making a List Will Help You Have a Life You LOVE.
- BE PRESENT. If you are being present – being in the NOW as in right now – you can’t be worried about the past or what else is happening. The more present you can be the more freed up you will be.