REPRINTED FROM MEDIUM - March 19, 2020
With fear escalating and most people having to stay under one roof together, it’s easy to let our emotions get the best of us. Little irritations can be amplified, and unless there is a way to release the stress, and intentionally direct energy in a positive way, too much togetherness can become hard to take.
In China, an MSN article quoting Lu Shijun, manager of a marriage registry in Dazhou, in the Sichuan Province, saying that the divorce rate has soared since the coronavirus began with over 300 couples scheduling appointments to get a divorce since February 24. Lu explained that “Young people are spending a lot of time at home. They tend to get into heated arguments because of something petty and rush into getting a divorce.”
Whether the conflicts are with roommates, partners or family, It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some ways to prevent meltdowns, keep your sanity, and emerge even closer.
First of all, keep your mind busy and positive. Avoid an obsession with media coverage. News is designed to keep you on high alert — not good for stress levels or your immune system. You may say, sure, we all want to be positive, but how? Here are some strategies to help:
1. Find a favorite way to deal with stress: In my last article, I gave your 7 ways to manage fear, including some breathing exercises. Here are 2 more. The most simple one is to take 5-10 deep breaths, with your exhale longer than your inhale, thus activating your parasympathetic nervous system and helping you calm down. Or do the “Mindfulness 54321” endorsed by the Mayo Clinic . It’s deceptively simple and highly effective. Look around you and identify:
5 things you see — like your hands, a cup of tea, your pet, a favorite plant, the sky…
4 things you can feel — like your feet on the ground, a ring you’re wearing, the phone in your hand…
3 things you can hear — like your breath, some music, the wind…
2 things you can smell — like soap, coffee…
1 thing you can taste — like a mint, a raisin, your toothpaste…
This short exercise brings you back to the moment and interrupts the cycle of negative thinking and rumination.
2. Amp up the Gratitude: Try a day of more gratitude and no complaining. That’s a big but very worthy challenge. Have you noticed how many people are expressing their fears by complaining? I love the quote by Robin Sharma, “Gratitude is the antidote to fear.” Instead of focusing on your fears, have a running list of things you are grateful for and why, and just add to it daily.
When someone is irritating you, an immediate reset can be the thought “What would it be like if they weren’t there?” That puts things in a whole new perspective. Remember some good moments you’ve shared and then write down why you are grateful that they are in your life. Look for the good, the little things to express gratitude about: such as thanks for feeding the dog, emptying the dishwasher, writing a little note, keeping your voice down when I was on an important call… The point is to look for and mention what you appreciate in the other person. You are setting the tone and the energy, and that positivity will come back to you.
3. Find a long term project that inspires you: It’s important for us, as human beings to feel that we are growing. In the positive psychology model called PERMA, it satisfies Positive emotions, Engagement, Meaning, and Accomplishment. Right now, we have a unique opportunity to slow down, connect inside and remember what we always wanted to do but never had time for. What inspires you — learning a language, finally cleaning up a room, getting your body core strong, practicing an instrument, reading a special book or series, take a certification so you can learn a skill to help your career, planning a trip, planting a garden — what is it for you? Encourage each other! Time is the rarest of commodities — without the day-to-day pickups and errands, we have more of that now, so make the most of it. As you immerse yourself in and see progress towards something that is meaningful to you, your positivity will rise.
4. Create new rituals: In an uncertain and fast-changing external world, there’s something reassuring in having some internal structure to rely on. This is an ideal time to ask, “Am I living my best life? What is truly important to me going forward?” Having daily rituals can help bring a sense of inner peace and positive expectation, whether it’s some daily reflective/meditation time, a soothing bedtime ritual to destress, or a morning journaling practice to release your fears before the day starts. It could be a simple walk around the block. Have something you do every day that reinforces a sense of calm.
5. Respect each other’s space: If you’re working together in close proximity, and there may not be enough room to spread out. Take turns, try to find different places or schedule different times so as to not be on top of one another. Plan it out intentionally together, so that everyone’s needs are addressed the best way you can. And try not to let little things irritate you. Pause before you react and expand your patience.
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.- Viktor Frankl
This is not about being right or wrong, it’s about getting along, and making this unforeseen situation actually work. We are all being asked to bring our best selves forward.
Amidst rising emotions, remember you don’t have to be triggered even if those around you are. Manage your energy, take care, lead with kindness. Your inner resources can help you more than you’d ever imagined.
Enjoy this free video series to get you going with greater clarity and confidence.
Gain access Now!
*You'll also be the first to get the latest strategies to inspire your most fulfilling life.