Questions to Ask Yourself in Times of Chaos

Lots of uncertainty and chaos right now that schools, public events & get-togethers have closed and come to a screeching halt as a result of COVID-19.  But in this unchartered time of ‘social distancing’ how do we keep from feeling totally overwhelmed, stressed out or ___________(insert any other negative emotion you are feeling)?

First of all, pay attention to the sentences in your mind that are causing your suffering.  Two of the most common thoughts I’m hearing from clients at the moment are:

  1. “I don’t know” followed by things such as ‘what I should do’, or ‘if I should or shouldn’t go.’

What if there isn’t any such thing as a right decision? What if we can only make the best decision we can with the knowledge we have at the moment and just go forward without looking back?  One of the things that helps me do this is to make sure that I am feeling loving and compassionate toward myself rather than coming from a place of fear.  In order to do this I simply ask myself ‘what is the reason I am making this decision’ and take a look at my answer to see if I like my reason and to make sure it isn’t coming from a place of fear or lack (the opposite of abundance).

   2.    “He/she/it shouldn’t” followed by things such as ‘be happening,’ or ‘be behaving this way’

Thinking the world should be different or people should be acting differently causes us a tremendous amount of suffering.  Human beings will always do what they’re going to do and we can’t change this.  Whenever we choose to think that others should be acting differently, we  stop being able to make suggestions or voice our opinions in a loving or caring way.  Just think about it, when somebody tells you what you ‘should’ do, don’t you automatically feel resistant and defensive? 

What if somebody said to you with no expectations attached, “I care about you so much and I’m worried you’re going to get sick.  I’d love it if you had your groceries delivered instead of visiting the supermarket.”  The operative thing here is this being said with no expectations...think of this as planting a seed and letting the other person take charge of what he/she does with it.  It may be more likely that the seed you planted starts taking root rather than the other person being resistant and choosing to ignore it thus decreasing the chances it will take root.

So, my suggestion is to experiment–take notice of how you are showing up in your relationships with others and also if you are stuck in any negative emotion spirals.  What happens after you take notice and attempt to show up in a new way next time?