Anxiety due to situations created by the Corona Virus, and how to deal with it
Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
Why does one face anxiety in one life?
Only because one is unable to face the consequences of the uncertain outcome.
Sportspersons have been reeling for the past few months because of anxiety about their future.
Sportspersons have to understand that all actions of theirs will have an outcome. Should we be able to face with equanimity the uncertain outcome of whatever life can throw at us, then there would be no anxiety.
Let’s take a simple example that my teacher taught me about what life can throw at us:
Equal to my expectation
Less than my expectation
More than my expectation
Opposite to my expectation
If you think / reason out, you will understand that the results / outcomes in your life can only be one of the above four possibilities. Equal to my expectation, Less than my expectation, More than my expectation or Opposite to my expectation.
IN YOUR LIFE THE RESULTS THAT YOU GET CAN ONLY BE ONE OF THESE FOUR. THERE IS NO OTHER POSSIBILITY. HENCE IN LIFE YOU DON’T HAVE TO PREPARE TO FACE TOO MANY PROBABILITIES. ONLY THESE FOUR. HENCE WHEN WE SIMPLIFY THE WAY WE LOOK AT LIFE, IT BECOMES EASIER TO DEAL WITH ITS UP’S AND DOWNS.
The situation created by the Corona virus, is for everyone; opposite to what they where expecting from the future.
Future Olympians, were training extremely hard for the past many years and had set their eyes upon July 24th, 2020. They were excited about being a part of the opening ceremony. They would have dreamt about that day from childhood. They were gearing to peak on the day of the event. They had calculated and planned backward from July 24th, every month, week, day, hour and minute of their preparation.
Alas, that was not to be. The 2020 Olympic Games, were postponed for a year. That would definitely be, opposite to what they, where expecting on December 31st, 2019 New Year’s Eve.
Like the Olympics, all other sports events have also been cancelled or postponed. Now with the Corona virus situation becoming a reality, many of the sports persons I have spoken with in the past four months said, that they felt like someone had kicked them in the stomach. Another said she’s been involuntarily crying and can’t stop it. Many have spoken about depression, a word they never knew existed.
You all would have read how many famous sports persons have expressed, how crazy and stressed they have been feeling because of being locked away from their favorite activity.
Because it is opposite to what they, where expecting.
Now the million dollar question is, how to deal with the anxiety of the lockdown and the changes in life that the corona virus has brought with it?
Giving the reason as to why the sportspersons are feeling anxious, is one part of the problem. All those who have agreed to the cause of the problem, would be more interested to know the solution to the issue of anxiety. The general advise given to control your anxiety are as under:
- Maintain your routines as much as possible from within your home.
- Fix Sleep and getting up time, because it’s good for your immune system.
- Increase Exercising: It’s calming and will boost immune function.
- Work more on the mental aspects of game. Add more to the meditation time.
- Revise all aspects of your program with your coach.
However beneficial these methods may be, they still don’t seem to work as efficiently as we wish them to work.
We have to start afresh, press the restart button of our life and check how we are as regards to our responses to the four possibilities. Equal to my expectation, Less than my expectation, More than my expectation or Opposite to my expectation.
First, I have to determine; How was I dealing with anxiety of the normal type before the Corona Virus arrived.
All sports persons would agree, that if the result is equal to expectation or more than expectation, then there is no anxiety. We as human beings easily accept, anything more than expected and are always happy with more.
As regards results which are equal to expectation, we are OK-OK or lukewarm happy, in this situation, we do feel we could have strived to get more. With equal to expectation also, we don’t seem to be anxious.
However, when we get less than expectation or opposite to expectation results, we are incapable of handling the situation and we become anxious.
We have to understand that before we build the mental strength to cope with anxiety caused by less than expected results or opposite to expected results, we have to first work upon gracefully accepting equal to expectation results.
Sportspersons would easily understand, that if today, you are capable of lifting a 50 kg weight, then lifting a weight which is 10 kgs or 25 kgs etc. is easy, as your current strength is capable of lifting a 50 kg weight.
However if I was to load you with a weight of 60kgs or 75 kgs or 100 kgs, you would not be able to lift that weight and you would struggle and eventually break down if such a weight was put upon you.
That you can’t lift above 50kgs today, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to in the future. If you add more weight say 1 kg to the 50 kg weight, then lifting 51 kgs with some days and weeks of effort, you would be able to lift it, then you can go to 52 kgs, then to 55kgs and 60 kgs and even 100 kgs or more with enough effort.
Similarly when your mental strength is capable of lifting weight, from equal to expected results only, then when the higher weight (burden) of less than expected or opposite to expected result are faced by you, then you can’t handle them and that results in ANXIETY!
So, the solution is to improve your mental strength capacity from today onwards. The best way to start is to be GRATEFUL for what you have today. So, though we don’t have freedom to move about too much in the corona era. To build mental strength, we have to start being grateful / thankful for what we have, such as:
My good health.
Free time that I had always wanted but never had.
A time to introspect and plan about the future.
Catching up with the immediate family living with me, etc.
There is a long list of things each of us have to be grateful for. Let’s be grateful once early in the morning, then again in the afternoon, then in the evening and finally at night, before sleeping. Four times a day or more often if possible, we should be grateful for what we have. This is a mental exercise that you have to do. Just as you do a physical exercise and gain strength, similarly by doing this mental exercise you will gain mental strength.
We will notice, that once we start being grateful for our equal to expectation situations, we will gain mental strength and our anxiety will go down. Slowly, but steadily our mental strength would increase.
Then in the weeks and months to come, with proper effort, we would be able to deal with less than expected results, finally we will also be able to see our greater strength against anxiety caused from opposite to expected results.
Finally, a magical prayer that worked for me and all those I have shared with in the past two decades should be tried and incorporated in daily life to fight anxiety:
“OH LORD GIVE ME THE STRENGTH TO CHANGE WHAT CAN BE CHANGED.”
“OH LORD GIVE ME THE STRENGTH (courage) TO ACCEPT WHAT CANNOT BE CHANGED.”
“OH LORD GIVE ME THE WISDOM (discrimination) TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
WHAT CAN BE CHANGED & WHAT CANNOT BE CHANGED.”
“ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND THAT THE CHANGING NATURE OF THE WORLD CANNOT BE