The body is often the first part of the Self to signal when something is wrong; changes in heart rate, breathing, temperature, digestion and skin sensation.
When you have observed a stress response within your body and mind, take the following steps:
1. Acknowledge the stress response and quietly thank the Universe for the opportunity to do something about it. Thank your body for the signal and yourself for listening.
2. Identify the Source. What was it that provoked the response? What were you doing prior to feeling like this? For example, were you speaking to someone, reading, or watching television? If a fearful thought seems to have come out of nowhere, follow it back to its source. What are its origins. Where did the information come from that shaped its content?
3. Assess the Risk. How reliable is the information that provoked this response? What is the level and nature of risk involved to you and those around you? You might want to calmly do some research, but make sure that you are using reliable resources so that you do not inflame the situation.
4. Take Action. Having assessed the risk, take any direct action that you feel is required to mitigate it for yourself and others. For example, purchasing masks and sanitiser, educating your children, drawing up guidelines for everyone and contacting vulnerable relatives to reassure them and organise their basic care.
5. Emotionally Detach. Once the risk is assessed and all immediate action taken, there is no room for rumination. We are of far greater use in a crisis when we are calm and can think clearly. Constantly revisiting the issue will only serve to drive up stress hormones and negatively impact on mental health so detachment is essential. Situations that cause collective fear are usually subject to change and constant re-reporting in the media from different angles so you may wish to formally set a time frame for reassessment and evaluation of the situation. If you do this, it is wise to resolve not to revisit the situation until the agreed time unless there has been a considerable change in circumstances.
Remember that what we focus more of our attention on takes up a larger proportion of our lives. With this in mind, remember to use the above tool to compartmentalise the things that create fear, and to focus on, and foster gratitude for all of the positive things that happen to you and those around you whatever their magnitude. Shaping your mindset in this way will encourage greater abundance of the things that bring you joy, even during difficult times.