July 23rd, 2020
Co-authored by Dr. Holly Holmes-Meredith and Bill Yarborough.
Tough times can bring out the best in us—and the coronavirus pandemic has triggered many acts of compassion. While the pandemic may have slowed things down where we can more clearly see those in need around us, it has also robbed us of certain means to act.
Forbes magazine reported in March that 76,000 healthcare workers volunteered to help New York hospitals fight the coronavirus. Barron’s magazine reported in June that Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bezos, and many other individuals have made donations equaling $25 million or more to help victims suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic. And local merchants such as Safeway and Trader Joe’s have created senior hours where those with age vulnerabilities can shop more safely.
Others without medical expertise or great wealth have made countless contributions, such as making masks, giving donations to local food banks, delivering groceries to the elderly, and similar acts of kindheartedness.
Some of our clients and acquaintances, particularly those in vulnerable populations, have expressed frustrations that they want to help but feel at a loss of how to do so. In the past, when people would have attended a protest or volunteered time to a food bank, hospital, nursing home or other worthy cause, they now feel conflicted between a desire to pitch in and a desire to avoid contracting and spreading Covid-19. Such conflicts can create emotional turmoil. Compounding the stress, many people have suffered job losses, depriving them of the financial ability to make contributions to their chosen charities and causes.
Taking steps to clear negative emotions can make it easier to resolve such inner tension, and the following techniques may help clear your head allowing you to better see what you can do.
Put your mind onto something else when weighted down with a problem. Exercising, walking, engaging in a hobby, watching a movie, or chatting with a friend can help you to return to a difficult question with a fresh perspective.
Mindfulness, prayer, and meditation promotes focus. Mindfulness, the sense of being present in the moment and observing thoughts, feelings, and habits, can help you recognize those things you can do as opposed to those things you cannot control. Prayer has provided many with answers, and meditation is well known for clearing the mind.
Yoga, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and Reiki. Yoga brings together both physical and mental disciplines that can help you achieve peacefulness of body and mind. There are sites on the Internet that demonstrate EFT, which is easy to learn and involves tapping on body pressure points to get release from negative emotions. Reiki, a hands-on, energetic healing technique can likewise create deep relaxation to help the body release stress.
We have both had experience working with individuals who wanted to take action but felt weighted down by conflicting emotions. For example, in several cases, individuals wanted to participate in physical activities but were hesitant to do so due to physical limitations. This conflict resulted in depression and feelings of being overwhelmed and helpless. Rounds of EFT allowed these negative emotions to lift so they could more clearly see those activities they could engage in and those to avoid. EFT has also energized some to seek out new means to mitigate their handicaps. We should note that such techniques reduced unreasonable fears but not natural fears.
In regard to the current crisis, clearing negative emotions can help you recognize helpful actions you feel comfortable pursing and those you don’t. As highlighted above many have made masks or delivered food to food banks, family, neighbors, and friends. You may also become inspired to explore new and creative ways to help or to make your voice heard on social causes by mail, phone, or virtually.
Certain social commentators have stated this groundswell of compassion and desire for social change feels different than in the past. They say there has been a shift in thinking or consciousness, where it is not so much about us and them but more about the humanity that connects us. These commentators are hopeful this shift can outlast the pandemic. So even if there are actions you are not comfortable doing now, you can always envision the actions you’ll take when risks of the virus lift.
If you have questions, comments, or practices that you have used and would like to share with us, please reach out via the contact information on our websites: Holly at hypnotherapytraining.com or Bill at his contact page.
By Dr. Holly Holmes-Meredith, D. Min., MFT, Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Bill Yarborough, CHT, and Certified EFT Practitioner.
Below is the link to the July Diablo Gazette. Our Emotional Health column is on page 14.