How To Maintain a Positive Mindset in the Midst of Chaos

March 20, 2020 | Mindset, Crisis Communication

By Marilyn Heywood Paige

You have an important choice to make right now. As you navigate these unknown floodwaters called “coronavirus pandemic,” you have to choose how to react. Will you be mired in fear, scarcity, and panic and make bad decisions? Or will you maintain “ruthless objectivity” and steer yourself and your loved ones into calm waters?
The following six tenets will help you maintain equilibrium and cultivate a productive, objective mindset.

Be Disciplined In Your Perceptions 


“Desperation, despair, fear, powerlessness, these are reactions that are functions of our perceptions. . . Discipline in perception lets you clearly see the advantage of the proper course of action without the pestilence of fear.” Ryan Holiday. 
Will you worry about and fear what’s to come or will you stay firmly in the present time? Will you see school closings and curfews as signs of an apocalypse or will you view them as an opportunity to stop, look around, and step back from your daily hubbub? Looking back through human history when has panic ever helped people to make better decisions?

Control Your Emotions

We have no control over what is happening and that can be scary--if we allow ourselves to be frightened. 

“Be disciplined in your perceptions. Control your emotions.” You cannot make good decisions if you are in fear, scarcity or panic. “We react emotionally which turns bad things into really bad things” 

Ryan Holiday

Choose to See The Good


The news is reporting the falling stock market, new cases of people infected with the virus, and recent deaths because that’s their job. Your job is to keep your head up. Keep moving forward. Stay resolutely fixed to the present. Breathe. See your neighbors helping one another. Practice courage over confusion. 

Observe With Objectivity

Observe events with objectivity. Watch what is happening and do not engage emotionally. You cannot change what is happening, but you can change your reaction to it. And that is where your power in this is.

Focus On What You Can Control

You can control your thoughts, emotions, what you do, and what you say. Take actions based on logic, not fear. Take action guided by calm purpose, not panic. 

Find the Gratitude


Did you eat today? Sleep in a bed last night? Have all your limbs? You have much to be grateful for today. Remind yourself, hourly if need be, of all these gifts. 

A Rare Moment In History

We have a chance to learn from this rare moment in history. And the only way to learn now, (not in hindsight) is to stay in the present. Do not catastrophize the situation in your mind. Breath in. Breath out. “What matters is not what these obstacles are but how we see them and react to them. This determines how successful we will be in overcoming, possibly thriving” (Holiday). 
If you ever daydreamed yourself to be a hero, this is your moment. Be disciplined in your perceptions. Control your emotions. Choose to see the good. Observe with Objectivity. Focus on what you can control. Find gratitude. And take compassionate, rational action. 
(This blog is inspired by the words of Ryan Holiday from his book, The Obstacle Is The Way.All quotes are from the third chapter, “The Discipline of Perception.”)

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