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Feeling In Control During COVID-19

Whitney Emrick

Relaxed girl breathing fresh air in a park a sunny dayOver the past few weeks we all have felt powerless, scared or confused at some point. We have lost much of what we can control in our day-to-day lives… and that never feels good. As humans, we thrive when we feel safe and have a sense of what is to come next. We have changed roles, stopped all regular activities, and many have lost their source of income. During what feels like an uncontrollable situation, I have turned to focus on the aspects of my life that I can control. Here are a few conditions that we CAN control.

Mental Space

Mental attention is a finite resource, we only have space for a few things at once. If we are absorbed with anxious, hopeless or ruminating thoughts, we don’t have the capacity for planning or enjoying the present moment. Where our attention goes, energy flows… I am not saying you can’t be anxious, but what I suggest is to allow yourself to worry and untangle the thoughts, rather than let it take you down a destructive spiral. Sit with the feeling, so you can try to reframe your thoughts. Reframing can have a big impact on the experience of stress—changing the way you look at the situation, can truly change the experience of the situation. I am also in control of how I speak to myself. Self-talk is a powerful tool that can direct the course of your mood and day. Remember, YOU get to decide what words you use.

Faith

Many of us have switched from showing up in our Sunday best to streaming the services from our homes, but our Faith remains the same. Faith cannot be taken away, even if there is a global pandemic. We are still able to lean on our faith during this difficult time. We might be curious as to why this is happening, but we can continue to pray or meditate to find peace & clarity.

Part of my personal way to give thanks and show praise is to have a gratitude journal. I collect my thoughts and make a list of what makes me blessed and thankful. No rules just whatever comes to mind. My gratitude journal is something I can go back and read to remember the past and reflect.

Senses

I am still able to control my 5 senses by having authority over what I taste, hear, smell, touch and see on a daily basis. I choose to eat delicious (not always nutritious) food, listen to good tunes, smell flowers outside, feel the warmth of each morning shower, and look at my cute kitty as I write this. We can grieve the aspects we miss and still appreciate the comforting ones still with us.

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