- Dr. Lalit Chawla
E#40: What We Gain from the Coronavirus/COVID-19
This is a special episode to discuss precautions, attitudes and mindset around the Pandemic
(This is the core of the transcript from the podcast. The Intro has been removed and some areas improved for reading ease.)
This episode is about fear and loss. Right now, the majority of us are having fears at some level about losing something, whether it's our health, work, relationship, financial loss, loss of our routines, watching sporting events, visiting people etc. Loss is a tremendous driver for all of us and is a big motivator for many of the actions we take because a loss or potentially losing something can be painful.
Right now, many of us are having fears about losing something, whether it’s our health, work, relationship, finances, our routines, watching sporting events, visiting people etc.
One of the things we will remember in this time of pandemic planning, AND THE GREAT toilet paper craze, and the way some people are hoarding resources, is- what did we lose and what resulted from that? And there are two types of losses, potential loss and actual loss.
Whenever we are experiencing potential loss or have an actual loss, we have to ask ourselves, did we lose it? Was is it permanent? And can we recover? But there is an essential fourth question that is equally important that helps reframe the situation, something I've had to remind myself at many stages in my life, and that is. Did we gain something instead?
And right now, it may be hard to answer that because people are feeling a level of uncertainty about many things, especially their financial income and for the financial income of others and their economy and the world economy.
Did we gain something instead?
One distinguishing question that can help put things into perspective is, "has there been a loss or a temporary suspension of life as we know it? And will we reawaken to other things that we can do? And as I've said, is there a gain or potential learning we can get?" And maybe take a moment and ask yourself, what are you are fearing right now and is there something you've gained in the interim or may gain if you let yourself look hard enough?
Now for some of us, we can't always answer that question because we can get stuck in a place of uncertainty. I know I've experienced this in my life many times, the most notable time was when I was waiting for the final biopsy result for a cancerous tumour from my dad's last surgery, it was unnerving.
Not knowing is hard because we don't know what will happen in the future. But living in tomorrow instead of today is defeating the potential joy of today. And I know you know all that. Now in my case with my dad, and me worrying about the result of the tumour didn't help my dad or me and believe me it showed.
My dad was fine with waiting, but he could tell I wasn't. I was preoccupied with the future and was nervous over the final result. He told me, "don't think about it so much, son, what will be will be, be present with me now and learn to do that. Because so many things you will do in life requires you to wait and be patient, get used to it" And that reminds me of an essential saying by the Philosopher Lao Tzu, which I've said in a previous podcast episode:
"has there been a loss or a temporary suspension of life as we know it? And will we reawaken to other things that we can do?
If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.
So that's a life lesson I think we all are trying to live right now in these uncertain times.
And in this time of the pandemic and social isolation, we have time with ourselves, our family and friends, is also an opportunity to improve our health and develop our relationships because I can tell you when people are on their death bed, they are not saying 'I wish I worked more and made more money, they are saying I wish I had made time for my health and the people that mattered to me.'
So many people are always looking for a pause button in their life, and some people should have a pause button because they are oblivious to what's essential. And now we have it.
This is a great time to take a look at how you are managing your food, sleep routines, and proper relaxation routine, and I don't mean drinking alcohol every night and getting caught up in the hysteria of everything that is happening. But what are you doing that builds you, your family and community up?
One of the biggest fears right now is that people are fearful of getting sick, right? That is probably one of the top two fears people are having, so look at how you can improve your physical health. Have you been taking time to actually do the things that you know could improve your physical and mental health? If you have that's great, then the next question is, can you elevate that to another level?
So many people are always looking for a pause button in their life, and some people should have a pause button because they are oblivious to what's essential.
Now is really a time to be focusing on your family and personal actions and to take inventory on how as individuals, we are going to connect with our families, friends and ourselves. How have you been doing? What tangible actions are you doing in your life in terms of our HERO goals,
O-others things you've wanted to improve on that could benefit you or your community?
Are you going just to give your kids Ipads and personally get absorbed in that too, or are you going to play and engage for a few hours a day to do things like reading, drawing, playing an instrument, playing games, reading a book?
I'm reading From the Ashes and its wonderfully written book by Jesse Thistle.
Now I realize that for some, it is harder economically then it is for others. We have many homeless people who are being forgotten, and that's a real situation. So ask yourself, how bad is it?
I shared a meme that really puts so much of what is happening right now into perspective it said many of our grandparents were off to war,
we just have to stay inside and wash our hands.
You got this!
Many of our grandparents were off to war, we just have to wash our hands and stay inside. You got this!
Doesn't that change a person's perspective? Some people are finding it hard that their way of life and routines have been changed, but it's useful to think,
What do we need vs. want? And more than ever, this gives us a time to relook and think about things. Think of this time as an opportunity to see how you reframe your thinking and how you will step up as a leader and role model for others.
And let's take perspective; we've all, more than likely lost something before and we've gotten through it. Haven't you lost money, a relationship, a friend, a family member, a job opportunity, but you survived it? And when you looked back and said, "boy, that was the best thing that's ever happened to me. And if you were in a relationship that went sour and later you realized that was for the better? Or a job loss that made you look at what you had to learn to become better? Or health set back that made you appreciate life more and your health.
So build up and recharge to live your best life and optimize your health. The phrase of the day: is reframe your vision, and schedule your rests and health. Amp it up.
What do we need vs. want?
Give the energy to look at the opportunities in your life. And ask yourself, if you did lose something, is it truly a loss and has it happened?
If you would lose it, to what extent do you think it will happen and do you think that you are alone and no one will help you? Can you accept it? I believe most people can accept things if they let themselves believe that they can, and that they are resourceful enough and that there are systems in place where people will help if we choose to look for them and ask for help.
What can you do moment to moment to plan for it vs. worry for it?
Please share this message if you think it will help. Together, we got this.
Stay Calm, find daily joys and live with intention!
A shout out to all my colleague's nurses, doctors and allied health care professionals who are helping to keep society safe and healthy. And a shout out to all the wonderful people who are doing the right thing by social isolation, and connecting with others and helping the vulnerable people who could use our help right now. And a sincere salute to the individuals who are keeping our supply chains open and all of us fed. We've really learned the meaning of essential services.
I'm Dr. Lalit Chawla and thank you for listening. May great health, happiness and magic grace you and your loved ones.
Thank you for listening.
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