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  • Steven R. Campbell

COVID-19: Six Ways to Grow

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

Can we actually use Covid-19 to grow?

At first blush, we would probably say, “Absolutely no way!”  

At the heart of the COVID-19 is a crisis that is more challenging than all of us have faced for a very long time.

It is also forcing us to confront a wide range of very unpleasant emotions.

However, as in everything, there IS an incredible opportunity!

Now, I am not minimizing what we are facing. Instead, what matters is how we are interpreting and responding to the difficulties we are facing.

So here are six ways we can respond.

1. Allowing Ourselves to Feel Bad

Sadness, disappointment, and anxiety are just a few of the emotions we are feeling in response to Covid-19. However, a part of having a healthy emotional life involves being able to fully experience all emotions. You can’t (and shouldn’t) cherry-pick just the feel-good ones.

So don't minimize Covid. (“Oh, it’s not a big deal”).

It IS a big deal and it can’t be made smaller by pretending it isn’t. Rather, be kind to yourself! Listen to yourself, and others, and reflect back the feelings that are there.

2. Embracing the Adversity

Whether we like it or not, COVID is here for a while, however much we may rage! We have little control over it or its resolution. And though we may mitigate the health risks of the virus in the near future, its financial implications may last for years. So, what matters is how we choose to respond to

We have three options.

  1. We can love it. But, let’s be realistic, there’s nothing to love about our current situation.

  2. We can hate it. But that will simply add salt to the wound, making our experience of what is already disruptive and unsettling even more unpleasant.

  3. The third is to actually embrace it as something we can turn into a positive experience (at least to some degree). In other words, we are choosing to take the “fork in the road” that will make us feel better and create some benefits out of this decidedly unnerving situation. In other words, choose to turn lemons into lemonade.

3. Seeing a Challenge to Overcome

Viewing COVID-19 as a challenge will make your journey through the crisis a bit more palatable and perhaps even leave you better off than you were before.

4. Seeing an Opportunity

As President John F. Kennedy noted, “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters—one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.”

Whether a crisis is viewed as a crisis, or an opportunity depends on whether we are focusing on what is lost or what can be gained. 

Remember this. As long as the crisis lasts, you can adjust your life goals to work within its state of “new normal.” You can see the loss of regular life as a chance to focus on other aspects of your life that have been neglected because you’ve been too busy to address them.

For instance, Mary and I have repainted the interior of our house. (Mary does the painting and I move the furniture and cook the meals. Paint and I do NOT get along!) I have picked up my guitar after fifty years. We are again taking long walks.

In other words, when you refuse to succumb to a victim mentality, you decrease your feelings of helplessness and increase your sense of control and optimism.

5. A Positive Attitude

It’s easy to dwell on everything that is missing in our lives. But getting pulled to the “dark side” simply adds insult (you feel terrible) to the injury that has already been caused.

Rather, these recommendations can lay

the foundation for the optimism that will help you weather the storm from which there is little protection or escape.

6. Putting the Crisis in Perspective

Think long-term: it is a big deal now, but life will very likely return to normal in the future and the crisis won’t seem so big or overwhelming. In other words, think big picture. COVID-19 is now a big part of our lives, but it is not life itself.

There are always many things in our lives that are good.

Mr. Campbell is an award-winning author, speaker and mentor to individuals and organizations. Known as “the Brain Whisperer,” he teaches how your mind can be your greatest adversary and, when understood, can be transformed into your greatest friend and ally. He wants to help shift the mindset of Chopsticks Alley readers. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Zoology from San Diego State University and a Masters in Information Systems from the University of San Francisco and has been exploring and teaching the discoveries of cognitive psychology in various universities and colleges for over 25 years.

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