How to use the lessons from coronavirus pandemic to create a better future?

Coronavirus pandemic has brought fear, anxiety and uncertainty to our life. Many of our life patterns is disrupted due to this outbreak that we need to adjust to. However, there are lessons we can learn, too.

While I am adjusting to this temporary challenging time, I thought to take a pause and look into what we can learn from this situation that will help us create a better future.

Here are 3 lessons that I learned.

1- Protecting our environment to protect ourselves

As experts point out, what we are going through at this moment is in a way a long term result of our actions as human species in the past towards our planet. Actions that led to global warming is an example. Experts also warn that such outbreaks are going to continue if we don’t change our actions and we don’t make better choices towards the health of our planet and ourselves.

There is no point in pointing fingers to see whose fault this is. We are part of a global family and each one of us play our role in it. What we can ask ourselves is what are the key human behaviours that are causing our planet to suffer? We are not separate from our planet and we depend on it to survive and thrive. What we do to mother earth will eventually come back to ourselves. As we can see from all the effects of global warming in the past few years and all the extreme natural phenomena that are happening, if our planet is out of balance, we will have to face the consequences of it as well.

So, the lesson I get is that we need to care more for our planet, and make ourselves more educated about what are the simple human behaviours and daily habits that are contributing to global warming and to avoid them as much as possible. We are more than 7 billion people on this planet and our simple actions, no matter how small they are, add up and make a huge force to hurt or heal this planet.

A relevant example that is contributing to global warming and harming the life in our planet is the single-use plastics that is taking over the oceans and the lands, killing fishes, bird and animals. Imagine if every single one of us choose to stop or reduce the use of single-use plastics, how much burden we will take off our planet?

2- Looking after our mind to look after our body

In this unprecedented time, immediate reaction might be fear, anxiety, anger, or frustration. But these reactions do not help us in this critical situation. We need to have strong immune system during this outbreak to stay stronger and well protected against COVID-19; and these feelings weaken the immune system. Staying calm, positive and at peace, on the other hand, enhances our immune system. Our brain works at its best when we are in a calm and positive mode; we are more creative, more empathetic, and better decision makers. Moreover our body produces healing chemicals when we are calm, rather than in reactive mode.

It is wiser and more beneficial to find a way to stay in control of our mind and the way we react to all the overwhelming things we are exposed to; and to bring our mind to a state of peace and positivity to help our body perform at its best.

Staying calm in catastrophic situations is actually a skill that everyone can learn. It’s in fact a quality of the brain that can be developed with simple exercises. Meditation is the most effective one.

Whether it is virus outbreaks or other catastrophes in life, unexpected things might happen at any time in anyone’s life. Do we have the mind skills required to protect ourselves and to perform at our best during difficult times? Now it’s a good time to start practicing the skill of being in control of our mind to help us stay calm, peaceful and strong in any life situation.

3- Giving space to ourselves and others

Experts advice that one way to slow the spread of the coronavirus is social distancing. This seems ironic. We are social beings. However, this reminds me that we need some ME-time as well as the WE-time to be at our best. Socialising and having social support is part of being human and it is needed for our growth and wellbeing. However, There should be a balance between the time we spend with ourselves and the time we spend with others. We need to have space for ourselves and to give space to others too.

In our busy lives, we are so used to not having quiet time with ourselves that this time of self isolation seems to be the most challenging part of this pandemic. We got used to our minds being overstimulated by all the busyness of life that spending some time with lower speed and less contact seems scary. We don’t enjoy our own company!

This is a good time to start becoming comfortable spending time with ourselves and to go within; perhaps to reflect on deeper aspects of life, and our deepest values and meanings in life. This ME-time gets easily ignored in our busy lifestyle, but it is nurturing and a natural part of living a fulfilled life.