How our lives have been turned upside down in a very short period of time! In fact, as I write this today, we can expect that tomorrow more change will envelop us that we can’t even foreshadow right now. As for next week and the week after that…….. that is so unforeseeable.
As I have already said in an earlier article, we have lost control of most of the parts of our life that gave us a sense of security and stability. We have to take back control over what we can control. That is not just our physical reality but also our emotional lives.
I received an article from Tony Schwartz and Emily Pines titled “Coping with Fatigue, Fear and Panic During a Crisis” that has so much valuable stuff in it that I wanted to share some it with you. I have been following Tony Schwartz for years. He runs The Energy Project and introduced me to why we need to manage our energy as a crucial leadership skill. Manage your energy, he said, not your time.
We are being infected by two contagions.
Tony and Emily make the point that “we are dealing with two contagions – the virus itself and the emotions it generates. Negative emotions are every bit as contagious as the virus, and they are also toxic. Fatigue, fear and panic undermine our ability to think clearly and creatively, manage our relationships effectively, focus attention on the right priorities, and make smart, informed choices.”
There is a physiological impact on our bodies of those negative emotions, one of which is to weaken our immune systems. We certainly don’t need to be fronting this virus with a weakened immune system.
Tony and Emily tell us that we have three “different selves” responding to this threatening reality.
The Overwhelmed Self.
This is “the most defenceless, vulnerable and childlike part of us.”
The Adult Self.
This is “a more capable adult self.”
The Survival Self.
This is the defensive self that rushes to protect and defend us “reactively, impulsively, haphazardly and often counter-productively.”
It would be helpful to stop right there and ask ourselves where we are at this moment. We need to move to our Adult Self, but at this stage most of us may still be living out of our Survival or Overwhelmed Self. To move from there to our Adult Self, they give us steps we need to take.
We need to become aware of our emotions, “what we are feeling at any given moment.” This is about becoming emotionally intelligent.
We need to calm ourselves, and they give us a way to do that by using our breath.
We need to reflect and we can begin to do that once we are calm. This allows us to step up into our Adult Self and put it back in control.
When we are living in our Adult Self we are better able to assess and evaluate the information that is coming to us. We are able to draw on our inner resources and our personal strengths to make decisions that empower us rather than having us feel overwhelmed. We gain clarity and direction for our lives and therefore gain the ability, as Tony and Emily indicate “to focus on what you have the power to influence and letting go of the rest.”
You can read the entire article here.