Mindfulness And Serenity When The World Is In A Panic

How Do We Maintain Peace And Serenity In A Crazy Environment?

Unfortunately, the world has found itself dealing with another virus outbreak. In a situation similar to previous viruses such as SARS and Avian Flu, Coronavirus has caused sane, rational people to panic. In these moments of irrational behavior, people have cleaned out store shelves and companies have taken advantage by price gouging on hand-sanitizer and face masks. This can be a triggering environment for those of us in recovery. We are aware that this type of desperate, panicked thinking can negatively affect us. How can we apply the principles of mindfulness to keep ourselves and families safe and sane? Furthermore, how can we be an example to our friends and loved ones?

Follow The Facts, Listen To The Experts

We learn through mindfulness practice and in recovery that our feelings are not facts. Mindfulness teaches us to acknowledge and accept our current state of being with a focused sense of awareness.  Often, feelings are a reaction to a thought we are currently having. We learn that our emotional responses can be an overreaction to the facts. It is beneficial in these situations to discuss our thought process with people who have more experience than us. It is also valuable to contact an individual who is not emotionally tied to the situation so that they can help us make measured and healthy choices. We should avoid discussing the situation with an individual who is also experiencing a similar reaction as we won’t receive a balanced response. This type of interaction will lead to an even higher state of distress. In order to make reasonable decisions we must remember to check the facts first.

The world would benefit from a mindfulness exercise right now. We need to follow the facts about a situation instead of listening to hearsay or reading biased social media posts. However, how can we tell the difference between facts and bias? The process is similar to how we look for guidance in recovery. I am not going to ask my recovered friend who has never owned a business for tips about starting my own. If a friend asks me for advice about what to do in the custody case for their children, I should not advise them. Currently, I do not have children, or an ex-spouse, therefore, my experience and knowledge is limited. Instead, I will point them to someone who has a better understanding of their situation. When we receive information, we should try to identify the source. Where is the information coming from? Is it the best possible source of this information? Does a wellness coach know about infectious disease? Does a news correspondent understand the implications of a pandemic virus? Or, should I listen to the top scientists and doctors in this field of expertise?  I can check what the international scientific community is saying as opposed to listening to the biased news reports. We will always find the best information from people who have extensive knowledge and experience in these categories. By learning the facts, we can avoid being swept up in the panic caused by irrational behavior and misinformed people.

Faith That Works

Many of us in recovery have found peace and serenity in our lives through faith. We discovered a community that has the answer to our problems and a program of action to help us along the way. This process creates change in our lives, and we could not do it alone. We begin to have a relationship with recovery that teaches us to trust the process. We learn to have faith that we will be taken care of no matter what. We quickly realize that panic is often a negative reaction to a situation we feel we cannot control. This is proof that faith works. A lack of control in one aspect of our life leads us to desperately try to control another area in order to regain an overall sense of control.  This is where we can use mindfulness and educated facts to lead us back to faith. We can safely say that we did our research to learn the truth about a situation. This is the best approach to keep our families and friends safe too. We become mindful of the panicked thoughts and we remember that they are just thoughts that do not need to result in negative, emotional reactions. We learn to accept the situations that we cannot control, the confidence to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  This is a common saying in recovery, and it holds true in almost all life experiences. We should also try to be of service to those around us who seem to be upset and distressed by the panic. Hopefully, by sharing our educated perspective and knowledge with others we can all collectively calm down and discover peace and serenity, even in a crazy environment.


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