Things continue to escalate rapidly with the coronavirus situation.
Very few of us will remain unaffected and most of us are having to make significant adjustments to our lives.
- The loss of our freedom to travel and in some cases, the need to self-isolate
- Coping with tumbling markets
- The real implications for our businesses and our finances
- The concerns for our health and the health of others.
This isn't helped by the more sensational media coverage, with some outlets seeming to thrive on creating drama of it all.
So, given the situation, how can we avoid freaking out? How do maintain a sense of perspective, and try and make intelligent choices?
Importantly, how can we also be there for each other, and look for ways to be supportive to our clients?
Love or fear
I find it incredibly helpful to remember there are only two basic emotions: love or fear.
The way our physiology and neurology respond to each of these is completely different.
When experiencing fear, your body is flooded with stress hormones in readiness for immediate danger. Your heart rate increases, you produce a variety of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol and you become hyper alert.
Fear is natural and designed to protect you.
But fear isn't useful when it's prolonged, when it overwhelms you and when it distorts your ability to think and behave clearly and intelligently. It also has a negative effect on your immune system.
Fear can make us feel isolated, aggressive and self-orientated - panic buying is one example given that it deprives others of what they need.
When talking about love I don't mean personal love, but an intimate sense of connection to everyone and all living things.
It's a state of mind where fear is absent. You are present to what is but feel at peace, you are calm and can approach and solve problems with a sense of ease.
The physiology of love compared with fear is that a completely different set of chemicals and hormones are released into your body. It is healthy and healing.
You may now be thinking: "How can I possibly feel love and at peace with the world seemingly crashing down around me?"
But whatever we are experiencing in each moment, we can ask ourselves: Where is it coming from?
A favourite book of mine is 'One thought changes everything' by Mara Gleason.
Her dad, a chief executive of a billion-dollar advertising business in the US, writes in one chapter:
"Oftentimes, we think that circumstances dictate our reality, that our lives and our experience of life is shaped by the world around us as an outside-in experience. I have learned that this is not the case.
"Circumstances do not shape our experience of life; we do. Each of us, every minute of every day, has the ability to shape and experience our reality from a more profound place, a deeper dimension, a more human place."
This moment matters
A friend of mine carries round with him a small pack of cards and he invites people to choose one at random from the pack. Each one has an inspiring message on it.
A few weeks ago, he asked me to choose one and I have tacked it onto my desktop screen. It says:
"This moment matters."
This moment is the only one we have, and we can operate from love or we can operate from fear.
As a society we have been operating from fear and in doing so we have become disconnected from our fellow human beings.
Although we can easily get drawn into a negative frame of mind, this situation has also brought out a great deal of kindness, compassion and caring. Many people are doing wonderful things for their communities.
We are presented with the opportunity to be of service to people, to build relationships and to reconnect to the deeper dimension of who we really are.
The choice is ours to make.
I'll leave you with a graphic which illustrates the distinction between 'above the line' and 'below the line' thinking. I hope you find it useful.