I did this Acrylic in black and white last summer while the weather was warm enough to paint in the garage. I did this in a positive and in this negative form. I chose this one to represent our Thought for this week–Unknown.
Today’s ‘Thought’ is the work of our middle son, Dan who is a psychologist. I liked what he had to say and wanted, with his permission, to share it with you today.
“It took me a month to get my head around what was going on in the world at large, and in my own world. After thinking about it and being asked questions about what to do, this is what I came up with.
“We are bombarded with information about COVID 19, the enemy, the killer! We have rapid fire predictions of how bad it could be! Some people are developing new scam strategies to take advantage of our fear. What is the fear? Is it the fear of getting sick, of dying? Is it the fear of global economic collapse? I say no, it’s the ruler of all fears, it’s the fear of the unknown!! What is the effect of the unknown? Well, it tends to create a sense of powerlessness through which we try to cope and live our days.
“Powerlessness is one of the most energy zapping, confidence crushing, and motivation destroying lenses through which we see the world. As I work with people each day as a clinical psychologist, I hear how the fear of the unknown and powerlessness is crippling them and their spirits. Seeing the world through the lens of powerlessness makes everything worse. To name a few, it makes depression worse, anxiety worse, and it makes irritability worse. Individuals struggle, and when individuals struggle, relationships struggle.
“So, what do we do to manage this enemy? How do we deal with, no not COVID 19, the fear, and the powerlessness! “We”, every one of us, are doing everything that can be done to overcome the COVID 19 enemy; now it’s up to us as individuals to take care of ourselves and get out from under powerlessness. As members of the animal kingdom we have an instinct in the face of danger to Freeze, Flee, or Fight.
The main reason powerlessness is the ruler of all fears, is because when we sense its danger, we Freeze. The easiest way to overcome powerlessness is to use the part of our brain that lets us override instinct. We are the only species in the animal kingdom that has that ability. We can recognize that our Freeze instinct has kicked in, and we can identify why it has kicked in, and then we can choose to override that instinct with behavior, action, and doing.
“The Freeze response is like emotionally holding your breath and trying not to feel. Here are a few tips that I think will help you overcome the paralyzing effects of fearing the unknown, and the powerlessness it creates.
- “First, recognize that the COVID 19 virus is real, and it does pose a threat to everything we know. In other words, we can’t be in denial about that.
- “Second, Do, Do, Do, and override the instinct to Freeze. Since the Freeze response is like emotionally holding your breath, I encourage you to physically breathe with mindfulness. This means, several times a day stop and focus on your breathing and take several deep breaths, while focusing on the moment, and identifying the positive of life right then, in that moment. Also, while you are taking your deep deep breaths, think about what you ARE in control of this day. You are always in control of your choices, so choose self-care, choose to do something that will override the instinct to Freeze.
- “Third, try to laugh! I know it’s difficult at a time like this but laugh. Laughter is a very healthy expression of emotion, and it releases endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural morphine and helps create a sense of calm. Increased doses of laughter should be part of everyone’s self-care plan. What better time to navigate your web browser to YouTube.com and find a new stand-up comedian you like, or something else that makes you laugh!
- “Fourth, it’s okay to cry! Have you ever heard the expression “having a good cry?” Well, there is some science behind that. Tears excrete stress hormones, which reduces our stress, helping us feel better. So, it’s okay to cry.
- “Last, recognize that when the pandemic is over, there will be a “new normal.” Life will be different. Just like after 9/11, life found a new normal. Babies will be born, people will get married, and we will laugh again, naturally. Embrace it. Accept it, don’t resist it. It will be different, but it will be good; we will all work together to make sure of that.” “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13