Useful Reminders For Overcoming Crisis
Our schedules have changed. Activities seem abnormal, and life seems to be going at a slower pace. In every life circumstance, what happens to us can be a source of an experience that needs to be defined but what we choose to do with that experience makes the difference. Here are five reminders to note when we go through any crisis or breakdown:
Readjust your ANTs (Automatic Negative Thinking/Thoughts): Identify and readjust those counterproductive thoughts that come running your mind when you are experiencing difficult life circumstances. Some of the ANTs come up in the form of “Ifs”- What if this never ends? What if I end up this way? What if my life will never be normal again? Rethink and readjust your thoughts as you try to also look for those uplifting thoughts- like “I’m thinking about how I will celebrate with friends and family when all this is over.”, “I’m glad that medical professionals are working on getting a vaccine for this.” “I look forward to resuming my normal life. How exciting that will look!”
Rethink the culture of “Less Vs More“: In most crises or hard times, you get limited or narrowed down to only a few options, resources and freedom. You will be exposed to “Less” than what you have been used to. In our society, we are all familiar with the fast-paced mentality, keeping Up With the Joneses, desiring immediate results, wanting more because we hold the notion that the more the better even though this is not always the case. Could this be an opportunity for you to break through this limitation to see how much “More” you can do with “Less.”? Sometimes, we do discover our hidden strengths, abilities, and creativity as we work under constrained conditions with limited options.
Re-examine your interpretation of the Realities: when situations happen to us, we are responsible for (a) how we choose to perceive it (b) how we choose to interpret it (c) how we choose to tell it (d) how we choose to relabel ourselves. There is always a crucial difference between what has happened to us, and the stories or interpretations we develop around what has happened to us:
Miserable exaggeration– this involves the accumulation of the thoughts, fear, and emotions that will push you to a complete state of hopelessness. “I will never survive this crisis.” “My whole life is ruined, and I will never get my life back together.” “This crisis will never end.”
Unrealistic optimism: this is where you over cultivate positivism to a point that you blindly forget to notice the realities. You constantly deny or minimize the truth about the situation, your feelings, and emotions. In this case, instead of becoming an experienced optimist, you end up over-exaggerating the hopefulness until it becomes unrealistic. “This is not an issue at all.” “Ah, everything is okay and normal.” “With or without any action or precaution this will be over very soon.” Be realistic in your interpretations.
Recognize and validate your emotions: Validate your emotions and feelings with thoughtfulness. You are an actual human being with flesh, blood, and complex emotions and feelings. So, show them and don’t accumulate them until they can harmfully burst out for themselves. Suppressing our emotions is an unhealthy way of managing a crisis as this will continue to build up more stress, and harmful emotions into chronic stress, and emotional breakdown. This further diminishes us not only emotionally but physically, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually.
Reconnect and show love: Reconnect with others: Even during tribulations, our outward appearance might look changed but our inner selves remain constant. You are still a kind and compassionate person. Don’t lose that value. Do what you can to still show love, compassion, and empathy for yourself and others. You can pray for others, pick up the phone to call and check on friends and families, and pray with them, be that light in the dark for others, be that rainbow in someone’s cloud, help mow the lawn for a neighbor who might not just be in a suitable position to do that.