It was one of those nights in December where the temperature had dropped a little below than normal and I had just finished my dinner to settle for a cup of coffee. It is generally my “me” time and I don’t like to share with anyone and just then the phone rang. It was Sanjay who was calling, my friend whom I know for the last two decades. That night we spoke for almost three hours. Sanjay kept on saying how much pressure he is in, and how he has not been able to find time for his family. He also mentioned how much he is longing for a break. So I said why you don’t take a vacation. Sanjay said rather than taking a vacation he would prefer sitting at home and doing nothing and playing with his kids.
In terms of human nature, we thrive for the 6 Cs. We love to have a Choice. As we are wired for free will. We are wired for being social creatures and that’s why we look forward to Collaboration, and so do we love to Communicate. We also love to solve problems and so will look for avenues for Critical thinking. Our uniquely human pleasure is our Creativity. As humans, we immensely feel a need to Care for each other. Thus at any given point of time if you are forced to stop any of the above behaviour we feel inadequate. We also love control and whenever something uncertain comes in front of us we tend to have a feeling of losing control. If you would think a bit deeper you would understand most of the stress comes from either thinking what happened in the past or thinking what will happen in the future. In this process, we kind of forget what is required to be done Now. This present moment is never a matter of stress. If you look at Covid-19 you neither had control about what’s happening around you or what has already happened. You also have no control of what’s going to happen in future. This very sense of lack of control builds in stress. Interestingly, we always wanted to do something when we had free time, we also wanted to spend time with family, we wanted less work, we wanted “me” time and all these things were given to us still we were stressed. So the question arises: do we really know what we want?
Now that we have understood about stress and how we can identify the source of our stress, it’s important to understand how we handle what is in store for us. I will share a few techniques which you can give it a try to combat this feeling.
Be at the cause
As a pattern, we generally are at the effect where we try to blame everything around us. The point here is if we are constantly blaming others or our situation we are dependent on the person or the situation to change for some change to happen to us. We are not in control and we cannot change till there is a change happening in our environment. The best thing to do at these times is to ask the question to yourself “What can I do to change my situation?” This will empower you to look for results. Its important during these times to stop giving excuses and look for results and see what can you do to change your current situation. If your answer is “nothing” keep asking till you find an answer. Empower yourself, don’t be at mercy of any situation or person.
The Decision Matrix
One of the most difficult part during these times are taking decisions. No decision is right or wrong. You only come to know whether its right or wrong once you have taken the decision and lived through it. You can only speculate and make informed decisions. Below given is a matrix which will help you take that decision in a much better way. The first two quadrants ( top left and bottom left) we are all aware of and we know the magic happens when you start answering quadrant 3 and 4. Work on it and you will be able to make amazing decisions.
You have all the resources you need
We need to start with a belief that we have all the resources we need and it is available with us right now. We are conveniently habituated to look at what we dont have than what we have. This is the best time you need to focus and recharge all you have and try and use them to the fullest. Start making a list of all the strengths you have , not only from behavior, but resources like networks, people , money, infrastructure and the list goes on. Once you have the list you would feel you are one of the most resourceful people if not the most powerful. Everyday sit and make a list 5 of such resources that you have with you and see how you can use them right now.
I hope the above three tips will help you somewhat sail through these times of anxiety and fear. Yes, its true there is fear , the fear of the unknown , and if it’s unknown we are wasting time thinking about it. Stay safe, stay at home, if you have to go out , take necessary precautions. Remember you are always in control of yourself and you always have a choice.