The ONE Coronavirus Article That Could Change Your Life for the Better FOREVER
When I say that this is the ONE Coronavirus article that could change your life for the better forever I am not fooling or kidding around. The entire purpose of my blog is to help people have a life that they LOVE and provide the tools to help them get there. Right now, you have had your world turned upside down and you have a host of new emotions, which are not so positive. You are likely feeling afraid, anxious, worried, panicked, lonely, depressed, frustrated, angry, resentful and bored to name some of the top emotions that come to mind. How you deal with yourself
and your emotions RIGHT NOW
could forever alter your future outcome of this current situation. Before I give you the 3 key ways this article could change your life for the better forever let me address some key elements that should be of value. One element is that all of live involves loss and grief at some stage or point in time. You can’t avoid loss or grief if you are a human being living life.
When Do We Experience Grief?
There is loss and grief when someone you love dies, when you lose a friend, a relationship or a marriage, when you lose your assets or your home, when you lose a beloved pet, and in betrayals of all kinds. There is no avoiding loss and grief at some time in your life. Yet, a large majority of people simply don’t have many skills when it comes to dealing with loss and grief. No one needs to help you when life is great or even good. It’s easy to be happy when life goes your way. Yet, life throws us curve balls and hardships as often as it does and then what happens? It’s difficult to function in life when you have your world turned upside down unless you have the coping skills and habits and practices to still function. To be able to move through loss, grief and hardship without having it disable you – that is true power.
How Can This Article Help?
Here’s how this article could change your life for the better forever – assuming you actually read it and I do mean read it – not skim over it. Read it like it matters to get these 3 significant benefits:
- FOREVER: Learn the skills, habits and practices to deal with great loss, grief and suffering and you will have those skills forever! That is the ultimate power in life to be able to have skills and to function well when life is hard.
- Get OVER the trauma & shock more quickly – which means that you can heal faster and get on with life.
- Give you a BETTER chance of recovery without deep, permanent wounds – the chance for a full recovery.
Recognizing the Coronavirus as Trauma
First and foremost, this Coronavirus pandemic is a world event and for a large percentage of the population it is a trauma. While it is not a trauma for everyone, it is a trauma for a huge number of people. IF you don’t deal with a trauma it can absolutely affect your future life and health, which you can read all about in various medical and scholarly sites on the web and in many books as well. I want to help you develop the skills, abilities, habits and practices to not be damaged by this trauma. I can help you to get through it and come out the other side as a fully functioning individual IF YOU are willing to do what I call the work. The more you understand how a trauma can impact you and what it takes to offset a trauma, the faster and better you will recover and the more chance you have of no long-lasting side effects.
My last post was all about dealing with your emotions: Disaster Relief: How to “Flip the Switch” on Your Emotions
and Feel Better Now! Flipping the Switch is, in my humble opinion, an extremely valuable concept of how to deal with negative emotions and turn things around quickly that everyone should know and be able to use when needed. In this post, I am going to drill down specifically on the process of dealing with a loss, grief and suffering because that is exactly what a lot of people are feeling right now.
How Hope Is Important Too
Before I get into the process of loss and grief, I want to mention as someone who has experienced a complete and total upending of my life without warning, that there can be significant good that can come out of hardship and really horrible events. I speak from experience. I would give you more details but that could actually be dangerous to me on multiple fronts. I say this because I want to give you HOPE. Hope can be the most glorious thing when you are in dark and difficult times. Having HOPE gives you something to hold onto when you feel crushed by life. I have observed a huge uptake in the amount of prayer going on in the world – or so it seems to me. Maybe people are just being more vocal about asking for prayers and asking people to pray for the world. Regardless, a belief in God and Eternal life offers believers HOPE for life after death in the spiritual realm.
God is synonymous with the word love. God is love. Love equals kindness, compassion and charity among other things. Believing in a religion provides the guidelines for good and moral living. Where is LOVE in your life? This might be the time to open your heart to love. This might be the time to heal some of your old wounds. This might be the time to grow and develop on purpose. This might be the time to have more love, joy and happiness in your life. Change is inevitable in life. It rarely stays the same. How you deal with change is entirely up to you. You can resist change or you can embrace change or dip your toe in and see what happens. Our world is changing that is for sure.
We don’t know what the future holds, which is the scary part for so many. When you have lived through very long periods of uncertainty like I have then you grow your capacity and your ability to live in uncertainty. Don’t get me wrong – we all love certainty. We all love knowing how things are going to go. We all love to know what we can count on. Who wouldn’t love that? It is just not our reality now. Our reality is filled with unknowns and uncertainty. It’s probably hard for you to imagine that your life could be better or that you could be a better person because of a hardship or a trauma. Yet, for me that is almost always the case. Because I am constantly choosing an empowering view of my life and my circumstances. Because I know what it takes to be able to function well during great hardship and trauma. This is what I want for you – for you to be able to make it through this and come out as a stronger, better, happier and healthier you. And I am convinced that is possible – IF YOU are willing.
The Five Stages of Grief
Don’t ask me why, but in college I took a course on death and dying, which included a book by the premier expert at the time, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, titled “On Death and Dying”
. It was an amazing course that I probably took because I was a Resident Assistant, or because my boss asked me to, or because I needed a one credit class. Who knows. Dr. Kübler-Ross (1926-2004) was the co-founder of the hospice movement around the world, a Swiss-born psychiatrist and humanitarian. Her book, “On Death and Dying”
was first published in 1969 and included The Five States of Grief. For much of the time between 1969 to now, Dr. Kübler-Ross’s the Five Stages of Grief was accepted as the gospel. While it is still well accepted newer research has broadened and expanded upon the research base that Dr. Kübler-Ross started decades ago. The Five Stages of Grief are:
- Denial: This can’t be happening.
- Anger: Why is this happening to me/us?
- Bargaining: I will do anything to change this.
- Depression: What’s the point?
- Acceptance: It’s going to be alright.
Other Possible Stages of Grief
Another classic book on dealing with grief and loss is Good Grief: A Constructive Approach to the Problem of Loss
by Granger E. Westberg, published in 1962. Granger Westberg expands on the Kubler-Ross stages of grief broadening her work. Granger’s overview of grief includes 10 phases:
- We are in a state of shock.
- We express emotion.
- We feel depressed and very lonely.
- We may experience physical symptoms of distress.
- We may become panicky.
- We feel a sense of guilt about the loss.
- We are filled with hostility and resentment.
- We are unable to return to usual activities.
- Gradually hope comes through.
- We struggle to readjust to reality.
Effects of Grief/Loss/Suffering
- Your emotions – how you feel
- Your physical body – sleeping and with other physical issues
- Your thinking -confusion (inability to concentrate; difficulty making simple decisions; memory problems; feeling confused); dreams; memories
- Your behavior – social (isolating from others; easily irritated by others; loss of interest in normal activities and hobbies); habits – increased use of alcohol and cigarettes or other drugs; either loss of appetite or increased eating; loss of interest in enjoyable activities; work (not wanting to go to work; poor motivation; poor concentration or attention; sense of lost purpose in your work)
How Grief/Loss/Suffering affects your ability to Function
When my life was totally turned upside down – the rug ripped out from under me – I was surprised when people asked me the question: “How are you functioning?” What does that even mean I asked? I am not a therapist or medical professional and I just literally did not know what they were asking. Over time I got the gist of the question. Are you eating? Are you sleeping okay? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you doing normal activities? How are you feeling? Are you able to do what needs to be done in your life? And so on. In the medical field there is actually a scale for how well you are functioning called “The Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) Scale”, which if I understand has somewhat recently been replaced by the WHODAS scale.
Regardless of the functioning scale that you use, going through a trauma, a loss or grieving can impact your ability to function in life, which is why I have a sense of urgency to help you get a grip on how this can affect you so that you can deal with it. If you were functioning at the highest level, a GAF scale of 91 to 100, reads like this – superior functioning in a wide range of activities, life’s problems never seem to get out of hand, is sought out by others because of his or her many positive qualities. No symptoms. Does that describe you prior to the Coronavirus pandemic? The next level down on the GAF scale (scoring 81-90) is described as: Absent or minimal symptom (e.g. mild anxiety before an exam), good functioning in all areas, interested and involved in a wide range of activities, socially effective, generally satisfied with life, no more than everyday problems or concerns (e.g. an occasional argument with family members). Does that describe you prior to this pandemic?
The lower the level that you were functioning prior to the pandemic – the harder or potentially harder hit you could be by the trauma, loss and grief that the present situation presents. In other words, someone who experienced a great deal of anxiety, worry, and fear normally would have a heightened sense of worry, fear and anxiety due to the current circumstances. People who were functioning at a lower level can easily be pushed over the edge. This is why I am stating for the record that this article could change your life forever. IF you learn how to deal with loss, grief or suffering in a positive way then you are in a powerful position moving forward. IF you were not highly functioning before the pandemic – this is your chance! If you were not all that happy or life was not so great for you before the pandemic then this is an opportunity for you.
Suicide or intentional self-harm is the 10th
leading cause of death in the U.S. as of 2017 statistics. Suicidal behaviors relate to a low GAF score. Therefore, I say that the more you can increase your ability to function in life – the lower your likelihood to die by suicide. We simply have people who don’t know how to feel their feelings. We don’t have a society that validates loss and grief. We shy away from someone who has lost a loved one. We don’t know what to say when a parent loses a child, when there is a death of a sibling or loved one, or some other catastrophic loss. It’s easier to be silent and not risk saying the wrong thing. Or so it seems.
Now, we are in the midst of a group trauma – or a trauma for the largest number of people clearly not everyone. Now, I assert is the time to grow and develop your ability to deal with loss, grief and suffering because that is the only powerful way out. It’s not the only way out, but it’s the way out that will empower you forever moving forward.
Grief and loss are not the same for every person. It’s a personal process. What matters is that dealing with the grief or loss is going to benefit you in huge and tremendous ways. Denying or suppressing your feelings – the feelings of loss, grief, loneliness, fear, panic, anxiety and depression – could come back to haunt you in the future. It is in fact predictable that if you ignore your feelings that it will in fact come back to haunt you down the road. Research it yourself if you don’t believe me.
Everything that I write about is how to have a LIFE that you LOVE. Being able to feel your feelings is part of that. Being able to feel and deal with negative feelings is a part of that. If you can only love life when it is good – that’s a problem. The power is in being able to LOVE ALL of LIFE – the good, the bad and the ugly.
What’s to love about the bad parts you ask? The bad parts or the painful parts of life can help you grow and develop. The bad or hard parts of life can help you become a better person. The awful or horrible parts of life can help you develop virtues like humility or help refine your character, which is always beneficial. To be able to say, “I am hurting” is powerful. Of course, to be able to say that you would have to be able to be vulnerable, which I just recently blogged about. Regardless, I want you to be able to function WELL in life. I want you to be happy. This is the subject of all that I write about – how to help you get from where you are to where you want to be.
There is so much more I can say about this. Yet, for now, I think this is the place to leave you with the top ideas I have for getting you through the next week
. When times are hard – you live moment to moment or as I say – problem to problem. When life is extremely tough you get through it minute to minute – one problem at a time. I know a lot about that. Here are some thoughts for the coming week to help you.
Things to Get You Through the Next Week
- Understand you are not alone. Group trauma or massive trauma is going on now.
- Trust that you will get through this and be better off for it. More on that in a future post.
- Identify how you are feeling. This is really important. Then FEEL your feelings. Let them in. Don’t try to resist them. Cry. Feel lonely. Feel sad. Feel your feelings. Crying is really good for the body and soul – so have a good cry if you need to.
- Talk to people about how you are feeling. If you can’t do that for any reason, write in a journal.
- Commiserate with your social media friends or call a friend. Misery loves company and it will be good for both of you or all of you. You can do group chats on a variety of platforms.
- Recognize and understand that when you develop the skills to be able to grieve a loss of any kind – you will have a powerful skill that no one can take away from you.
- Self-care: What can you do each day in the area of self-care? I know…what is self-care? I blogged about this in a post titled Self-Mastery, Self-Motivation, & Self-Care: The Holy Grail of Happiness & Joy, January 30, 2020.
- Take a shower every day and get dressed. Do your grooming. You will feel better. Trust me.
- TURN OFF the news! Oh my goodness people! The news is not helping you!! It is NOT helping you at all. It is ramping up your fears and anxiety. I NEVER watch the news. It’s not helpful. It doesn’t leave people feeling good. Trust me – if something major happens you will either hear about it on social media or someone will tell you.
- Make up your mind that you will not only survive this – but you will FLOURISH! Why not? It’s a much more empowering point of view.
- Listen to music that you love.
- Do you have a list of things you can do at home that makes you happy? If so, do that stuff. If not, it’s time to create that list. Your handy-dandy, go-to list for things that make you happy.
- Read up on emotional intelligence or emotional quotient. This is extremely important in my humble opinion. I blogged about this in a post titled Top 17 Benefits to High Emotional Intelligence and Why It’s Important, October 25, 2019.
- Start planning events for the future – this really works people! I have done it so many times when life is hard. Plan parties, reunions, potlucks, post-graduation graduation parties, dinners, etc. Why not? What else are you doing your time? This gives you something to look forward to and that is important!
- Play a made-up game with your real friends or those you know through social media! Make it up! For example: The last one to do X, Y, or Z has to host a party when this blows over. Or the first one to do ___________________ has to ________________. Get creative! Have fun with this! Play!
- What kind of life do you want moving forward? You can use this to “reset” or “restart” your life or start all over like I did last year! You get to decide. You can use this time for that.
- Hobby up! Spend some time on hobbies. I am a big, super-huge fan of hobbies. You can read about that in detail in my post titled How Hobbies Can Help You Love Your Life and the Top 23 Reasons You Should Hobby Up, December 11, 2019.
- Write a letter to someone who has had a positive impact on your life and let them know that they made a difference in your life. Mail that letter. Now.
- Be present. The more you practice the skill of being in the moment, being in the NOW, the less worry and anxiety you will have. The more connected you will be able to get with people. Being present is a wonderful gift.
- Forgive someone. Forgiveness is actually for you. I intend to blog about this soon. But in the meantime, just do it.
- Write up your bucket list.
- Pray or meditate. These have proven benefits.
- Inventory your food and supplies. Then make a meal planning list based on the food that you have. This should ease your mind when you see how many meals you actually already have on hand.
- Reward yourself for anything and everything you can! I am a huge advocate of a reward system because I have been using one for decades and I know it works. To read more about how to do this in your own life read my post titled Self-Motivation: The Nuts & Bolts of Leveling Up with a Reward System, February 18, 2020.
- Go for a walk because that will put you outside in nature and has proven health benefits.
- Growth and development: I am a die-hard fan of growth and development. It is the path to higher functioning in life. It is the path to more happiness, joy and peace. I mean I totally LOVE growth and development. I blogged about it in a post titled Top 45 Ways that Personal Growth & Development Will Help You Have a Life You Love, November 29, 2019.
- Laugh as much as you can and as often as you can! Watch funny movies or sitcoms, tell jokes or whatever it is that makes you laugh.
There are several life skills, if you will, that will help you have superior functioning to use the language from the GAF scale. Given the suicide rates in the U.S. and the world, we are missing the boat on some dramatic level. Life offers us many opportunities to experience loss unless we are living under a rock or in a cave. Learning how to process loss, feel grief and deal with suffering provides an extremely powerful skill that no one can take away from you once you learn it.
We are living through a period of chaos, deep disruption and trauma. The majority of people simply do not have the skills to cope with this this kind of loss and grief. We need to urgently get the message out that there is hope. You will get through this. We will get through this. There are skills to learn and new habits to embrace – AND your life will be better and richer as a result. As someone who has weathered many traumas, I know what it takes to reach that highly functioning level no matter what happens. I want to help you get there. This can be a gift or a curse. It’s really up to you how it all ends up. We will absolutely get through this. You get to decide if it is a gift to you or a curse.
Think about this. Print this out for later. Bookmark it. Above all, share it with your people. They are struggling. We need to work together like never before. Please let me know how I can support you. I am deeply pained by what is going on. I know how hard it is. I wish you didn’t have to go through this at all. Let me support you in developing new habits, practices and skills to get through it and have a better life moving forward.