It’s easy to let negative thoughts and feelings creep in during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus is spreading. Nations are under quarantine. People are out of work. Schools remain closed, indefinitely.
If you’re feeling afraid, you’re not alone.
“That’s a natural response. There is a lot going on, and there are incredible changes. That kind of fear is what most of us feel,” said The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society‘s senior pastor, Greg Wilcox.
Despite all of this, keeping a positive mindset can go a long way in managing through the difficult time.
“Have an attitude that looks for the positive and tries to be optimistic can help you to filter out some of the constant barrage of bad or discouraging news — the figures of the disease and how it’s growing,” Wilcox said.
“Holding onto that positive attitude can help you center on things that provide you with what you need to make it through this day. It’s really important these days.”
But you can’t do it alone, Wilcox added.
“Keeping positive isn’t simply a ‘do-it-yourself’ project. For many, there is a community they can turn to, whether it’s family or friends, or a church community or mosque, whatever it might be,” he said. “Leaning on those people who are about you offers you real strength and resource for the day.”
Trusting information from fact-based sources can also help ease anxiety.
“I’d avoid anything that’s not based on fact, or from reliable sources. Wild rumors tend to go on social media. I’d run away from those and just stick to the facts, and hang onto your faith,” he said.
Five practices have helped Wilcox maintain a positive outlook.
“Having a sense of gratitude. There are still things to be thankful for. For those who have a job, be thankful for that. For those who don’t, that they have people around who care for them. There are many other things to be thankful for. An awareness of the good things in the sense of gratitude.”
“The second thing has proven very important for me, being basic faith practices. Prayer is one that’s mentioned very often, but with that, worship online or a Bible study. Thinking about key verses that have been very important to you in your own faith journey.”
“Gathering with a friend or two to talk about faith and meeting challenges these days. Any kind of faith practice really helps center and strengthen one.”
“The third would be just trying to maintain a rhythm and routine for each day.”
4. Helping others
“Find a way to help others. A faith practice that is so critical is not simply an awareness of God’s love for you, but trying to give that love away, to share with others. So, I think about what practical things can I do to help people around me?”
“I really found helping others helps me feel better about myself and my own life.”
5. Stop and smell the flowers
“The last thing I’d say, in terms of filling our spiritual glass, is some sense of creation around us. Whether it’s looking out at a field and noticing the trees beginning to bud, or if it is simply a pet that you have — a dog or a cat that you love spending time with — that can really fill you up and give you a hopeful sense about the day.”
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