Welcome to Insights and Implications!
We hope that you and your families are continuing to stay well during these challenging times. As promised we are increasing the frequency of our newsletters. This issue is written by Julia Rebholtz, a member of our Insight Principles team from the UK. She shares that she too, has struggled a bit but when she remembers what she knows about the mind, she is able to find her way back to balance.
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If I Am OK, Then Why Do I Feel So Bad?
Neil is the CEO of a large business. In the wake of the global health crisis, a number of business contracts collapsed. He and his team devised a plan to secure the £100m they needed and they made a plan to adapt their business model keeping their future business secure. Neil also made sure his personal finances could weather the storm and those of his elderly relatives. He and his wife made sure the kids, who would be out of school, were put on a schedule. Everything was in order.
Yet, here’s what I heard from Neil, “I’ve attended to everything, faster than I thought possible, and I still find myself really struggling. It’s like this background anxiety that’s gnawing away at me. I’m on edge. I thought I knew all about how my mind worked from the inside-out. How come I keep falling for the illusion?”
Sound familiar? It did to me, too! At times, I’m engrossed in my life and I feel totally normal. Then I remember there is a virus that has infected nearly two million people and more than one hundred thousand have died and I freak out.
There is a collection of thoughts that you have about yourself and about life that runs in the background of your mind, undetected, trying to figure out how to protect you. I call this your ego.
You can have fearful thoughts coming from concern for your safety, and these thoughts produce feelings of anxiety and worry. Your cortisol levels rise and your body gets prepared to run away from the immediate threat.
But there is no-thing to run from, the virus is invisible. Instead you can use your creative process to catastrophize an apocalyptic scenario. The more fearful thoughts you have about your safety, the more you think you need to do. You watch or listen to every news story – you scan the internet for information – you clean more. You fill your head with more fearful thoughts trying to keep safe.
Hopefully at some point you remember that you are living in the feeling of your thinking. Your mind settles and you come back to the present moment. You remember that the outside can’t make you feel a certain way. My 14-year-old son regularly has apocalyptic thinking. One day he says to me, “Mum this has to get a whole lot worse than I have imagined in my mind, for me to get worried!” Ten minutes later he says, “The whole world is going to end and we are all going to die!” And ten minutes after that he says, “I am fine, just got a bit carried away!”
The creative power of thought is trying to protect you, so you can thank it and appreciate it for doing so. And then you can tap in your deeper wisdom to be intelligent about the virus.
We may not know a lot about the COVID-19 virus but we do know that the virus is passed from person to person through droplets in the air. Armed with this information, you wash your hands frequently. You stop touching your face. You sterilize surfaces that have been sneezed or coughed on. You do your best to immunise yourself and others against this incredible virus.
The brilliant design of your human mind can immunise you against your anxious thinking. When you remember how the mind works you remember that you will always and only experience your thinking. Whatever you think will be “cinematised” in your mind.
With your understanding of both viruses and your mind, you can have confidence and certainty in your ability to handle the situation. You will know how to take care of yourself and others. You will listen to the advice of experts and to your own wisdom. You will remember to pay attention to both your mental and physical hygiene.
Stay safe, take care of each other, and keep washing your hands!