I like to make up words...and since "survival" is a word then "thrival" should be one too!
Perhaps it’s no accident that the world “pandemic” carries within it the word panic: PANdemIC. Yet, we are the ones who choose how the news, the disruptions, the fear, etc. affect us. One of the most useful aspects of becoming conscious is how it unlocks our capacity for conscious choice.
We are all experiencing more stress as a result of this pandemic, yet it does carry within it the opportunity to vastly activate our capacity for choice. We can choose peace over fear. May this list of emotional first aid and resilience tips be useful in your choosing peace.
But before that, I think it’s wise to review a list of common symptoms of unhealthy stress and it’s effects on us, since we and those in our lives might begin showing these signs now, or increasing the signs that were already there (as so many have so little reserves of energy needed to navigate increased stress.
Signs of Stress:
It’s important to point these out. Too many of us, and for too long have been living lives that are too stressful for emotional, physical and spiritual health and well-being, so the amount of energy that we have in reserve to deal with additional stresses is not significant. YET, we are faced with the most significant immediate challenges to human well-being throughout the world, we have ever known WHEN we don’t have a lot of reserves to draw from. Do not be surprised to see these changes in yourselves and others. Take them seriously and commit more fully to increasing self care.
The signs of stress are almost multitudinous, so rather than write them here, I direct you to the The American Institute of Stress’s list here:
I will, though, share a few for those who don’t want to click into another article: (acne, chronic pain, digestive issues and discomfort, frequent sickness, decreased energy, libido, enthusiasm; insomnia and disturbing dreams; increased sweating, cramps, teeth grinding, skin problems, increased emotional eating (or more restrictive eating), addictive behaviors, frustration, hostility, impatience, suspiciousness and defensiveness, general emotional reactivity.
General Tips for Boosting Resilience: These are the most effective emotional regulations tools I know of, in addition to the basics of breathing more deeply, drinking enough water (alkaline), getting enough sleep, connecting with others, smiling & laughing, being playful, creative, prioritize what’s most important, find enjoyable ways to relax, & take baths in Epsom salts. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t add this: if great sex is healthily a part of your life, make more time for it!
While challenges abound and many may experience devastation and life as we know it has changed, this time, like any crisis…though now on the most massive scale possible on this planet, this crisis can catapult our capacities to become our best selves…as individuals, partners, family members, community members and a world.
Use Emotional First Aid:
1) Tapping on the upper center of your chest with finger tips or soft fist (thymus thump). This increases emotional strength and resilience and is powerful in helping to stop anxiety attacks!
2) Butterfly Heart Hold: Cross hands and place above heart with fingers touching the bottoms of your collarbones. Use some pressure so that this has the effect of a weighted blanket. Tap the fingers of one hand and then the other, back and forth, as you breathe deeply. This is very calming and soothing.
3) Waterfall breath: Take a complete breathe in through your nose to the upper limit of your intake capacity (it will be smaller the more stress and anxiety you are experiencing). Hold that breath for just a few seconds (almost as if doing this helps the oxygen makes it’s way into the tightened muscles) then drop the breath out through your mouth as if it’s a waterfall. This will engage your face, neck, throat, shoulders, chest and back in a physical release with each out breat. This is the most effective breath for releasing physical tension! Give yourself permission to make a sound as you exhale to increase this effect!
4) Whenever a worry or fear thought occurs and you notice it, use this mantra: “I am so very much safer than I feel; I am strong and resilient, joyful and loving.”
5) Over Energy Correction: Place left ankle over the right one. Put both hands in front of you, back to back. Cross the right over the left, interlacing fingers, then roll hands into chest. Focus on your breathing (with eyes closed) and continue until you sigh, suddenly feel relaxed, or yawn. This can take up to 10 - 15 minutes, especially if at night.
6) Boundaries: Give yourself permission to ask another who is fear mongering/reactive to please stop or to tell them that you will be leaving/ending your conversation if they continue. You are responsible for taking care of yourself emotionally, not others. You need to set boundaries that maintain and increase your health and well-being.
Increase Emotional Resilience:
1) Begin each day with a round or more of tapping, followed by meditation
2) Actively observe the beauty that is all around you (the colors, shapes, fragrances, light) and let yourself FEEL appreciation and gratitude for the beauty.
3) Practice gratitude daily. Make a list of at least 5 people/things/event each day which bring thankfulness and love to your hearts and feel your heart open.
4) Reverse limiting and blocking beliefs & fears
5) Commit to stepping out of blame and judgment towards others and yourself and develop your muscles for responding with EMPATHY
6) Use tapping, EMDR, and other energetic-somatic therapies to develop the ability to meet life from a place of inner peace and calm. The world operates from reactivity (a brain in fight/flight mode), not from responsiveness and it is one of the central paths humanity is traversing in our collective evolution and transformation.
7) Practice flexibility: take different routes, switch to your non dominant hand, commit to learning something new.
8) Look for what’s positive in the changes you are being forced to make. How can you make containment practices more enriching and rewarding? Choose creativity, family time, redeveloping the fine art of conversation, appreciate solitude…
9) Walk and move! Get up and move at least once an hour. Practice HIIT (see Mercola). Walk in nature (allergies allowing) for more spiritual connection, and walking anywhere seems to help generate ideas and problem solve.
10) Meditate with mantras that focus on releasing the suffering of all humanity (Tonglen & Meta are 2 good examples).
11) Talk about the fears and feelings (don’t dump them on others) and commit to freeing yourself of the power of them.
12) If & when you catch yourself being short-tempered, judgmental or dismissive and shut down around children, your partner, your loved ones and others, PAUSE and TAKE A DEEP BREATH; APOLOGIZE with sincerity, ASK FOR FORGIVENESS and SHOW MORE LOVE. In fact…make a commitment to show more love, to be more authentic, honoring and transparent, every chance you get with those you love.
May these tips help you in navigating not only the pandemic, but the whole of your life, as well!
Many blessings for an awakening humanity!
Please pass this information on to whomever you think might benefit from it! Thank you!