A global pandemic has taken us by surprise. We’re not sure how to behave in this new situation. We are being informed that we need to make changes in our social behavior; some drastic changes which could mean the difference between life or death for ourselves, a loved one or a member of our community. But we don’t like to change. We resist. And we don’t know what to believe. The world has changed. We are fearful and anxious.
Change causes stress, especially unwanted and uncertain change. And change can create loss. We grieve the way things used to be. Described as the world’s foremost expert on grief, David Kessler explains that anticipatory grief can arise when the future is uncertain. “With a virus, this kind of grief is so confusing for people,” he explains. “Our primitive mind knows something bad is happening, but you can’t see it. This breaks our sense of safety. We’re feeling that loss of safety.” Kessler goes on to say, “We are grieving on a micro and a macro level.”
The mind has a negativity bias. We are more likely to believe the bad stuff. It may be why we spend so much money on insurance. We bet that something bad will happen. The negativity of the primitive mind is a survival tool. It helps us to determine danger. And now something dangerous has happened. And it has happened everywhere on the planet. It’s a reasonable and rational reaction to feel a little fear about the future when you are in the middle of a global pandemic.
Anticipatory grief can create fear – False Evidence Appearing Real. When we anticipate, we imagine or pretend. We make up a story. We believe in that story, even though we made it up. What you believe and what I believe may be different. We make up different stories. And the stories we make up can make us feel angry or sad or anxious. The problem is we are experiencing feelings in the present which are based on what we do not want to happen in the future. We feel out of control.
It takes courage to take control and to act on what we believe. The action of courage does not mean that there is not fear. It means one has the power to get past the negative imaginings of the fear of what may happen in the future. Instead, courage is a belief which creates faith about what is possible.
Where do you find your power over fear? You find your power in your ability to control what you think. You can choose to focus on all the negative imaginings and things that are beyond your control – all the things you do not want to happen, all your fears. OR you can choose to focus on what you can control. You can control your ability to take conscious actions to create what you want. If you want to stay healthy, follow the proven guidelines of good hygiene. Eat well. Sleep. Maintain a healthy immune system. Pay attention to the public health experts and science. Make the choice. You are in control of your choices. You are free to choose how to live your life.
Let go of the False Evidence – the scary stuff you’re making up; the stuff that makes you feel tense or sad or angry. Your beliefs control what Appears Real. Right now, along with every other person on the planet, you are being given a choice about what the future will be like when this is over. It is a powerful time to be alive – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to overcome fear and to let go of all that is no longer needed.
Claim your power to choose love over fear. Choose compassion. Choose kindness. Choose health and wellbeing. Choose prosperity. For yourself. For everyone.