It is easy to get caught up in the emotion of a situation like we are in currently with COVID-19. There are certainly a lot of repercussions occurring that cause people to feel out of control. Much of this is because the normal routines, income, thoughts of older loved ones, life in general, is anything but routine right now. But the last thing that is going to be beneficial is letting unproductive responses take over.
How our brain responds
Our brains’ amygdala (“the survival brain” or “miggys” as I call them) are constantly surveying situations to assess if we are safe, which usually boils down to having a secure sense of control in a situation. Many people are feeling out of control right now. Helpless and at the mercy of others.
In addition, we all have many feelings surrounding what is happening. These feelings are an emotional response; which is totally normal and originates in the limbic system of the brain (“the feeling brain”). The challenge is, when our brains are functioning primarily with the survival and feeling brain, it is hard for the logical brain to kick in (“the thinking brain”). The reality is, we need our thinking brains more today than we have in a long time.
Beyond survival mode
There is a whole lot going on right now, and you wouldn’t be alone to be panicking a little, or at the very least feeling like things are happening to you. The great thing is, we can make an intentional effort to shift from panicking to problem-solving, and when we do, we shift our brain functions from the survival and feeling areas, to the thinking area. This can also shift the mindset of things happening to me, to things happening because of me. This helps to establish elements of control that are healthy for your psyche.
PLUS, there are big problems that need to be solved right now. Hoarding toilet paper, stock piling canned food, and wiping out hand sanitizer isn’t what we need to get ourselves out of this situation. These are survival and feeling responses to a serious issue that needs logical problem-solving. Will you have what you need if you were first to the store? Sure. But what about everyone else that is also trying to work through this and didn’t have the luxury of rushing to the store?
We are all at the mercy of each other right now. And instead of inciting fear and uncertainty, we should be providing solutions and comfort to one another. Because now, more than ever, we need everyone to be problem-solving together, to keep our neighborhoods, communities, and businesses from completely unraveling.
So, my challenge to you is to think bigger than yourself right now, and don’t panic. Think about how you can offer solutions, whether it’s for your household, organization or community. Then take meaningful action. Your confidence and willingness to help will help others to calm down, reflect on their situations and begin to problem solve, too.
Has your organization moved to a completely remote environment? Be sure you read this article from ADVISA’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Brian Millis.
Unsure of how you can refocus nervous energy into something positive? Check out Leadership Consultant Mandy Haskett’s recent article on being brilliant at the basics.