Alive, Awake & Making It Through

Here we are, humans on the earth during and after a global pandemic. It's not like there wasn't a bunch to cope with already. But we're alive and awake and, with a lot of help, making it through the best we can. I'm waxing psychological about all that.


Updated: Apr 11, 2020

A little note on the psychology of this.

Please take serious precautions. Practice social distancing. Prepare for a long time hunkered down and increasing exposure in the community. Do all that. But what we don’t want is all of those precautions to set your nervous system up for panic should you or a loved one start to feel symptoms.

The act of trying to prevent something teaches our brain that if that thing were to happen, it would be very bad. And that contributes to a reaction of vigilance and terror should it occur. Vigilance and terror are natural and often warranted but in a situation like this, not super helpful. They are designed to help us escape threats we can see and respond to quickly, not cope with prolonged uncertainty and fear about something that is largely out of our hands (though washing still matters). They pull energy from the body’s ability to rest and repair.

Personally I am practicing acceptance. Acceptance that I may very well get this virus, despite the precautions. I am working with this thought so that if I start to feel a fever, or start coughing, I don’t 1) freak out physiologically 2) tell myself I’ve failed or did something wrong by touching that banister/not cloroxing that thing/whatever. I have asthma and I am scared. It’s not about denying fear and risk. It’s a way to prepare the nervous system to stay in the most optimal state for healing and reasoned decisionmaking.

I am likewise working with the thought that people I love will get the virus. They will need me to be grounded, and my immune system will benefit from me remaining grounded.

Keeping calm is genuinely, physiologically useful. We're all going to be learning and trying and striving towards that under these new and uncertain conditions.


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