This may be perfect time because now we should stay inside. We are not supposed to join large gatherings, or even small ones. We aren’t supposed to get on an airplane or train. And there may not be any sporting events to watch for a while.
However, before we panic and do something extreme, remember that there are ALWAYS good things that can happen. They just take some searching.
So here are a few:
1.) We already know the genetic features of COVID-19.
The virus struck only four months ago, and yet we already know its genetic features. It took scientists years to get that far with HIV/AIDS. Antiviral drugs are in development, and a vaccine could be available within 18 months. The pace of scientific progress is breathtaking.
2.) Our children appear safe
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last Monday that in Korea, no one under 30 has died from Coronavirus. In Japan, no one under 50 has died. The China Center for Disease Control reported that only 8.1 percent of cases were 20-somethings, 1.2 percent were teens, and 0.9 percent were 9 or younger. Our children appear safe. That’s a blessing.
4.) Our government is responding.
Last week, Congress passed a whopping $8.3 billion Coronavirus emergency bill.
The challenging news
1.) COVID-19 is different
There is a reason why the Coronavirus is so menacing. People infected with it shed 1,000 times more virus than people infected with SARS, an earlier global virus. Shedding the virus in saliva, sputum and other bodily fluids is what makes people contagious. SARS infected only 8,000 people before petering out, while the new Coronavirus has already infected 110,000 worldwide and continues to spread.
2.) The greatest challenge will be in the hospitals
Hospitals across the United States are erecting triage tents outside emergency rooms, squeezing extra beds into break rooms and physical therapy gyms, and recommending delays in elective surgery to free up capacity as they brace for an anticipated surge in coronavirus patients.
The key to the Coronavirus is to slow it down so our hospitals can keep up.
A new way of thinking
At the end of my presentations, I always give my audiences “New Ways of Thinking.”
If there was ever a time when mankind needed them, it is now.
So what could possibly be good about COVID-19?
Let’s begin with realizing that catastrophes are not new.
We have been through MUCH worse!
And most of them came from our own choices: The World Wars, the Holocaust, the Great Depression, the Great Recession, and 9/11.
And we have also lived through ten pandemics in our history. Here are a few:
The HIV/AIDS Pandemic (2005 – 2012): Death toll – 36 million
The Hong Kong Flu (1968): 1 million.
The common flu: The World Health Organization estimates that the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 people per year.
The Asian Flu (1956 – 1958): 2 million worldwide, 69,800 in America alone
Influenza (1918): 20 to 50 million
The Black Death (1346 – 1353): 75 – 200 million
So does it help to be optimistic?
The answer is YES! Why? Because optimism leads to hope.
And hope gives us the impetus for action: for going on and for moving forward.
One of the best books I’ve ever read is “Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life” by Dr. Martin Seligman, a renowned psychologist.
He cites three crucial dimensions to changing the dialogue in our head: Permanent, Pervasive and Personalization.
COVID-19 is not PERMANENT: It will not last forever.
COVID-19 is not PERVASIVE: it does not happen all the time.
Don’t PERSONALIZE it: Don’t take all of the blame.
“Stuff’ happens! (There is a better word, and you know what it is.)
So what should we do?
Dr. Seligman gives us a tool: ABCDE
Get out a sheet of paper and try it. It helps to do it a few times and then your mind will tend to follow the tool automatically. This exercise helps us tune into the perpetual dialogue that takes place in our mind and record it...so we can modify it.
ADVERSITY happens: Name it. Describe how COVID-19 could affect you on a piece of paper.
BELIEF: How do you interpret the tough time? Thoughts not feelings are then written. Remember: most of our feelings come primarily from our thoughts!
CONSEQUENCES: Record your feelings; sad, let down, disappointed, etc.
DISPUTE & DISTRACT: Use logic and reason to argue with yourself about how you may be blowing COVID-19 out of proportion.
ENERGIZATION: Get excited about moving forward and what you’ll do about it
Let me summarize:
In order for us stay optimistic during COVID-19, we must be proactive about who we look to for hope, how we explain adversity to ourselves and whom we interact with.
Remember: The Lord is here! He has ALWAYS been here! Gaze at the rain...the blue sky...the snow...He created those for us to enjoy!
Tough times don’t last. Tough people do. Mankind’s past challenges have shown that most of us are tougher than we think.
Steven Campbell is the author of “Making Your Mind Magnificent.” His seminar “Taming Your Mind, Unleashing Your Life” is now available on line at stevenrcampbell.teachable.com. For more information, call Steven Campbell at 707-480-5507.