During these very challenging and unsettling times it is important to keep our emotions and thoughts peaceful and not allow fear and panic to take a stronghold.
This is a link from the Limerick Post newspaper re using mindfulness to stay grounded. The author, Gerry Raftery uses some of the stages of grief to explain how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting some and how to keep things in the moment in order to maintain our peace of mind and serenity of spirit.
By Gerry Raftery
WE are now in week 2 of “cocooning” and there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding our future and stress and shock levels are rising.
Gerry Raftery is the Co-Ordinator of Mindfulness Programmes at Personal Milestones and has some tips in surviving the shock and dealing with the emotions attached to the coronavirus.
Surviving the Shock – Mindfully
We have been assaulted by a series of shock waves over the past few weeks. It
began with the arrival of the Coronovirus in the country, then the first death from the
virus, followed by a series of closures and restrictions.
Many of us are still in Shock
Shock is usually a personal, family or community experience. In the case of the
Coronavirus the Shock has been national and global. We’re all feeling it.
We associate Shock with such things as death, a serious life-changing accident, the
loss of a job or some other disaster.
The Coronovirus or Covid-19 is the disaster we are facing now. It is a life-threatening virus for which we have no immunisation or cure.
We are not helpless. As we begin to understand the nature of the Shock we can
learn to manage it.
A Sense of Disbelief
Our minds and our emotions follow certain steps when we experience Shock. The
first step is usually Disbelief, “This couldn’t be happening to me, to us, now. It just
doesn’t make sense.” We can become highly distressed and even irrational in the
early stages of a Shock.
We took a mini-break near Killarney a few weeks ago. The countryside was
beautiful, it was just emerging from winter, it was peaceful and restful. But within two
days we found ourselves in a Supermarket caught up in the panic buying that
happened in the early days of the crisis. The lovely hotel in which we stayed was
closed within two days of our departure. Killarney had changed overnight, reeling
from the Shock.
In the Shock and panic that followed the arrival of the virus we all began to
experience fear, anxiety and that awful sick feeling that is associated with tension
and uncertainty. The whole country began to be caught up in the same sense of
We listened to News Bulletin after News Bulletin with disbelief. Here I would recommend reducing our listening to the constant analysis of the Coronovirus on all media. However, at the same time pay close attention to the health and safety messages of Health Authorities and Government. See www.hse.ie and www.gov.ie.
Having experienced Disbelief, we can then move to another stage, Anger. This is not
an easy one with the Coronavirus. We don’t know where to direct the Anger. We
can’t blame the Chinese as it wasn’t their fault. We can’t blame the Government or
Politicians or the H.S.E. as they are doing their best to help us. So, who do we
blame? In our Anger there is a danger that we might blame one another. After all we
don’t know who is carrying the virus and who might pass it on to us! Have you
noticed the way people look at one another suspiciously in the Supermarket or on
A lot of the Anger comes from our belief that this should not be happening. We try to
resist the reality in which we find ourselves. We are not getting what we want in life
and this frustrates us. Instead, we are getting what we don’t want, our lives have
been torn apart, in a short time.
Be aware of your feelings of Anger, take some deep breaths to help your body
to relax and move away from the Anger. Beware of the danger of being Angry
with those around you.
Much of our Disbelief and Anger comes because life is not the way it was meant to
be. “It shouldn’t be like this.” Sadly, the reality is that it is how life is now and it will be
like this for some time to come. We have to come to terms with what is happening to
us now. The Mindful way to do this is through Acceptance. We need to learn to
accept things as they are now. However, never was Acceptance more difficult.
How can we accept a virus over which we have no control? How can we accept the
loss of work, income, career, ambition, holidays, and travel? How can we accept the
isolation and loss of freedom? Unfortunately, whether we like it or not we have no
choice but to come to terms with the way things are now.
And that is Acceptance. Until such time as we can accept that this is our reality now, we will remain frustrated, angry and distressed. Acceptance is the bridge that leads to calm and to new beginnings as we find new ways of living our lives and making the best of the circumstances in which we find ourselves now.
At a time like this many are rediscovering the benefits of Meditation and Prayer. We
will write about Meditation in another article. For the moment I would recommend a
well-known short Reflection which focuses clearly on Acceptance.
Never before has this Prayer been more relevant, “Grant me the Serenity to
accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and
Wisdom to know the difference”. Say it from time to time, think about its meaning,
and feel its benefits.
Finally, as I have suggested before take these days one at a time and find your own
moments of calm and peace each day. Take Care of Yourselves and of One Another.