Updated: May 20, 2020
Once I let go of the anxiety and took responsibility for what I could control, I discovered the hidden gifts of COVID-19.
These were the last words of my beloved friend 3 weeks ago before I started yelling at her:
“Go to the store and buy food that will last at least 2–4 weeks. We are completely powerless, it spreads like a wildfire. Last time this happened was with a Spanish flu, causing 50 million deaths! No one even knows how long this will last! (increasing voice intensity) We are not ready for this! (yelling) I don’t know what else do I have to tell you so you start taking it seriously.”
At that point, I had enough. Fear took over and I started yelling back about her being hysterical — while being hysterical myself.
Turning Fear Around
Everything is relative.
There is always a little good in all evil and a little evil in all good.
Fear suggests, that Coronavirus is only negative and therefore causes the mind to freak out.
Once I discovered the positives about the COVID-19 for my life I never fell into the hysteria around it again.
5 Reasons Why COVID-19 Changed My Life For The Better
1. Better decisions — after I let go of control & surrendered to the new reality.
Reinhold Niebuhr wrote this prayer almost 90 years ago:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
I felt anxiety at the beginning of the outbreak — what will happen to those I love, how will it affect my business and finances, will I have any permanent health damage if I get sick…?
The train of thoughts never stopped — until I let go of wanting to control things I can do nothing about.
I looked at what I could control and made new decisions: - going to sleep at 10.30pm & waking up at 6am - sharpen my morning workout and do an endurance workout every other day - double my daily meditation and reading time - prepare my business for the growth that comes after the pandemics - dive deep into my passion that I’ve neglected for years: writing.
I realized that all these decisions are crucial for my personal and business growth and thanks to Corona I adopted them faster.
As a result — not only I started to feel more empowered, but also more positives started to show up immediately.
2. Better relationship with death — after I finally took the time to reevaluate my beliefs around it.
Hearing about death from Coronvirus from the news on a daily basis was causing me some anxiety too. I knew there must be something about my view of death that drains me.
I dove into research and this is what I have discovered:
Over the last 200 years, we have more than doubled our life expectancy.
Even though the mortality rate still remained the same (100%, no one ever not-died) death became a taboo topic.
I looked back at my family patterns, my interpretations of my own taboo death-related events and I discovered, that part of myself always read between the lines: “Death is a failure.”
Thank God I realized that, as I knew it’s an irrational and limiting belief.
I immediately thought about the ancient philosophy of Stoicism and the Men’s Search for Meaning, a book by a psychologist and a holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, and I gave myself new answers on the question of death.
I have written my new reality in my journal:
The failure and tragedy of a man’s death do not lie in the event itself.
What’s tragic is when the drama around his death completely overshadows the beauty of his life and the contribution he made to the world — sometimes for generations to come.
Death is an opportunity to get inspired by his story, to learn from his accomplishments and to celebrate his life while finding deeper meaning in my own.
My beliefs about death changed.
They used to induce fear and anxiety and they were disempowering — all happening subconsciously.
Accepting my own mortality and creating new beliefs around it became a source of gratitude, inspiration and more presence in my life.
Of course, I could learn this lesson at any point in the future, but I like to credit the pandemics for it gave me the first impulse to go inwards and face the uncomfortable.
3. Better lifestyle — after realizing the importance of my immune system.
After contracting the virus and developing the COVID-19 symptoms, not much can be done other than relying on the body’s immune system to fight the disease.
I think this in itself is a gift.
It’s a reminder of the power of my body’s immune system and an urge to stop taking it for granted.
First of all, I am extremely grateful for the lifestyle I already adopted: eating the right foods at the right times, sleeping well, meditating, doing the Wim Hof breathwork, no smoking, and moderate alcohol.
Second, pandemics became a warning signal for many people on how much they are exposed to the virus as a result of their poor lifestyle choices.
In my environment, I see many people making changes in their habits that will, in turn, positively affect their bodies and immune systems.
Even though this is usually a painful process, eventually it feels good and addictive — once but when the results start to show up.
Exposure to the virus threat became an opportunity to finally turn those shoulds about a healthy lifestyle into musts. Those who commit to their new habits will come out of the lockdown stronger and healthier than before!
4. Better environment— Planet Earth took a deep breath after a very long time.
Pandemics slowed the world down.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) emissions (a toxic gas that can irritate the lungs, increase the risk of asthma and inflammation of lungs) are closely linked to factory output and vehicles on the road.
Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), a key greenhouse gas that drives global climate change, were also reduced.
During February this year, CO2 emissions in China alone were down by at least 25% because of the measures to contain the coronavirus. That’s a decrease of 200 million tons of CO2 — more than half the entire annual emissions output of the UK.
According to an analysis by Marshall Burke (a professor in Stanford’s Earth-system science department), a pandemic-related reduction in particulate matter in the atmosphere (the deadliest form of air pollution) likely saved the lives of 4,000 young children and 73,000 elderly adults in China over two months this year.
I find it symbolical, that while the Coronavirus attacked the lungs of humans, it relieved the lungs of the Earth.
5. Better world — We toughened and reunited as humanity.
Coronavirus is the enemy right now.
By definition, it dragged us into the 3rd World War — a large number of countries around the world are fighting their enemy.
While the other 2 world wars divided the world and nations, this one has a reuniting effect. The world has never seen such a global coordinated effort towards one goal in human history — to eliminate COVID-19.
Even though no one likes having an enemy around, it still has its light side:
Your enemy will show you what you are made of.
A hero will only figure out what he’s made of once he chooses to face his inner and outer enemies.
Every individual who stays home fights their own adversary.
Someone fights the loneliness they now face while someone else deals with irritation from being too much time around the same flatmates or family.
Some people struggle with neverending anxiety to do something, others can’t stand the boredom of having nothing to do.
Everyone goes through their internal fight — whether on the frontline of fighting the disease or while staying home.
The one thing that we all have in common is we all learn exactly what we need. And once it’s all over, we’ll be tougher.
Conclusion: It will be over.
No matter how long the lockdown will last, it will come to an end and we will thrive again. Like we did after all those other heavy events — world wars, economic depressions, terrorist attacks, other pandemics, etc.
It will be over one day and things will get back to normal.
And we’ll be tougher, grateful and better equipped for the future.
These are just a few of the reasons for gratitude. If you have your own, please share it with me! Get more content like this - directly to your inbox.
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Resources & additional reading:
Talking Death with Jordan Peterson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnYI00C4wbc