How To See The Silver Lining During a Tragedy
The entire world is collectively experiencing trauma. We are all being affected by the coronavirus pandemic, either directly or indirectly, so it’s important to not dwell on what we can’t control, and try our best to see the positives that come along with this tragedy.
The Silver Linings of the COVID-19 Pandemic
In order to emotionally and mentally survive this pandemic, we need to look at the silver linings. Be mindful that your anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns could be heightened during this time. That’s why it’s so important to try to look at the positives and not dwell on the negativity and chaos.
For some of us, the world is slowing down around us, so we can use this opportunity to create a mind shift on slowing down. I know it’s easier said than done, but there are things you can do to practice this that will help shift your frame of mind.
A New Global Sense of Community
Everyone in the entire world is impacted by this. We’re all in this together, so everyone is making this a priority to get to the other side of all this. In some ways, this pandemic has connected all of us in ways we didn’t expect. It has created a global sense of community that we never previously experienced. Not only are we all struggling together, but we can also all contribute to ending it.
Your contribution to this is socially or physically distancing yourself from others. The more you stay home, the more you are helping our global community end a pandemic. Perhaps this has given you the opportunity to connect even more so with friends and family, both near and far, through various platforms (e.g., online, video, phone) and has provided you the time to make these social connections even more of a priority. Perhaps this priority for social connection will continue as we reach the other side of all this.
Slowing Down From the Hustle and Bustle
We are being forced to take pauses and slow down, and find comfort in that. We can’t escape this new norm of ambiguity, so we have to create a new structure to have sanity. It will take some time to figure out your new routine, but eventually, we’ll adapt to these new norms in our home and lifestyles. Finding some sense of normalcy, which could mean you have to be creative with figuring out a new routine, will help you adjust to this new way of life at this current time.
Change the way you’re thinking about being forced to stay home. Instead of thinking that you’re stuck at home, think of it as more time to spend on self-care and more time with your family. You can learn a new skill, take on a new hobby. This can be an opportunity for enrichment and learning. You don’t have to be at this point yet.
We are all struggling with this new way of living, with the trauma of all of this, and dealing with our anxieties and fears, but as this continues on, the new sense of chaos will subside. We can gently move in the direction of healing and growth. If you feel you are unable to do that, or if you feel too anxious or overwhelmed, you are not alone. Therapy can help you with whatever you’re feeling and help you feel connected to others.
As you spend more time at home, remember that you are preventing others, including yourself, from getting sick. You are actively helping to stop the spread of the virus, and helping others who are essential workers stay safe, especially those in the healthcare industry and first responders who are risking their lives to help others.
The Importance of Self-Care and Kindness
This current way of life is still new, so we have to create the structure needed to find peace in all of this. We can’t continue in total chaos without our mental health being hurt, so it’s important to find a balance between chaos and order. You don’t have to be there yet, but it’s important to proactively move it in that direction. This can be done by knowing the importance of and practicing compassion and kindness towards others, ourselves, and the world around us.
We can learn how to take care of others by first taking care of ourselves. Even during “normal” (non-pandemic) times, you can’t take care of others if you’re not taking care of yourself. This situation is empowering us to develop a strong internal sense of self-care. When we work on ourselves, even though we might not have intended to, it helps the outside world - it’s an inside-out reaction. We’re being less wasteful, there’s a reduced hustle and bustle, and it’s creating a space for self-care, which in turn is helping others and the environment.
As a result of fewer outside distractions and commitments, we have the time and space to increase our self-care. Self-care can mean taking time to think about what makes you feel good and what’s important to you, then doing those things within healthy limits.
Learning What’s Really Important
As previously stated, self-care is taking the time to understand what’s important to you. We are now being forced to reevaluate our priorities and learn about what really matters. More and more, we are realizing the need to practice gratitude, and actively doing so will help with your mind shift. It’s important that we don’t take things for granted - things we once had access to and things we currently have.
To help nudge this process along, ask yourself these questions:
What did you take for granted in the past?
What are you currently grateful for?
What will you be grateful for?
What are you in control of?
What aren’t you able to control?
What is really important to you?
These will not only help you understand what matters most in life but will help you see that there is a silver lining to this pandemic. We are being given the opportunity to reflect on ourselves, our lives, and our relationships.
Realizing There's More In Your Control
If anything, this situation is giving us opportunities - it’s forcing us to be mindful, be present, and look at what IS, not what will be. We can’t predict the next tomorrow. Everything is changing rapidly and life is uncertain.
We can only control our own thoughts and behaviors. You have the choice to control how much you expose yourself to the chaos and how much time you give to others. You can give time to people who are panicking or to people who make you feel better and who promote your self-worth. If you have control over your schedule, take the time to practice mindfulness skills.
When you accept what you don’t have control over, you can focus more of your time and energy on what you can control. To mentally survive this situation, a situation where it feels like we are totally out of control, it’s important to:
Practice focusing on what we actually have control over (our thoughts and behaviors).