The 5-week lockdown (level 5) due to COVID-19 in South Africa left many sitting with various levels of discomfort, uncertainty, anxiety or even trauma. And even though as I write this, we have moved to level 4 of lockdown, the limitations on the economy leaves many in some kind of desperation for being able to survive. Some ask "how will I get through the next year?", while others might be asking"how will I get through the next 24hrs?".
Whichever side of the scale of uncertainty you are on, its this survival and victim based thinking that keeps us not only in the dark. Not only that, it also keeps us anxious, afraid and stressed. You may be feeling these whether you are staying "informed" by the news or not. And while it is easy to wonder that there couldn't possibly be any other way to view the future, it may just be for your sanity that you could try to practice a different approach.
A Daily Invitation
Reflecting on all that is uncertain for you in this time and without necessarily comparing yourself to anyone else on other ends of the scale to you, can you think of any reasons you might be lucky? Or perhaps what you feel grateful for as a result of lockdown? It does not have to be a major miracle - perhaps its something small and momentary. Each day can be something different.
Grateful to put my bare feet on the grass or in the mud
Grateful to be in my home
Grateful to be with my family
Grateful to sit in the sunshine for a few minutes
Grateful for this cup of warm tea
Grateful for a morning run
Grateful to be able to phone or text a loved one
Grateful to still be earning a salary
Or maybe its feeling lucky to be free from employment that did not serve your heart's true calling
Or perhaps grateful to be challenged to innovate and create new opportunities you might have never done before.
Whatever it looks like for you on any day.
Once you have identified it, try explore what that gratitude feels like in your body. Is there a sensation to it, or a particular part of your body you can feel it in or feel it from.
This kind of gratitude practice can actually have an effect on the brain, which can further promote strength and/or regularity of feelings such as contentment and happiness. In the neuroscience view, gratitude can stimulate more neurotransmitters in our brains, specifically dopamine and serotonin. And these promote greater possibilities for you to feel at peace.
What if, instead of feeling anxious, afraid and stressed about being in the dark and not knowing what the future holds, you could find moments to feel at peace with being there? What do you think this could do for your sanity?