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How should we be responding during this virus pandemic? We can react by spreading panic. Or, we can respond by spreading presence. We can do this even as we strive not to spread the Corona Virus.

Some of us are panicking. Their response to this threat is to engage in a scarcity, self-survival mindset. They run to stores not simply to get what they need for a few weeks, but to hoard food and supplies. Their panic is contagious. As others observe their buying frenzy, they often start to panic too. This spreads a self-protective, self-centered perspective that is the last thing we need in a global crisis. 

The question I’m asking myself is how can we make being present and in community contagious even while we engage in appropriate “social distancing” and other protective measures?  What I’ve come up with is: 

  • Breathe deeply: When we breathe deeply, we calm down the physical manifestations of fear created by our nervous system. This takes us out of the fight-flight survival mentality and enables us to see a wider perspective beyond ourselves. 
  • Focus on what you can control: When we focus on what is outside our control, it can lead to obsessive thinking, which leads to panic or paralysis. Focusing on what is in our control, can stop this obsessive thinking and enable us to make intentional choices.
  • Offer help to others: When we offer help to others, we feel more connected. This helps us remember that survival and well-being depend on community and connection.
  • Follow appropriate advice: The one message that comes across loud and clear from all reliable medical sources is wash your hands, don’t touch your face, stay away from crowds, and keep a social distance from other. What’s wonderful about social distancing is that it reminds us of how important connection is. It’s a great opportunity to use the Internet for maintaining communication and connection.

So, what have you come up with that you can share to create community and connection?