In this episode, we are talking about how to turn panic into purpose! Whatever you are in the middle of during this time, whether it’s processing a special needs diagnosis, or an autism diagnosis, or maybe struggling in the middle of the COVID-19 situation, I am going to be talking about four steps that you can go through to use whatever you are dealing with as fuel to bring a sense of purpose to your life.
I am doing this episode because I feel like this pandemic is a huge opportunity for us to learn something about ourselves and it’s a time that we can grow as people. But with growth comes challenge. Growing and stretching ourselves is not easy. It’s not comfortable. It’s out of our comfort zone. In the last few days, I’ve started to feel scared. I’ve noticed that I am up at night with thoughts and things like, “What if Remy gets sick?” “Will they have a ventilator for her?” “How do we isolate?” My mind is starting to go to that place, so I wanted to do this episode because I think that we need to really take our fear and use it to fuel a bigger purpose than ourselves.
What Should We Do When We Panic?
There are two things you can do with feelings of panic. You can try to get rid of them by numbing them with all the vices we have; drinking, eating too much, shopping, etc. They are ways to distract us, but the next morning you have that hangover, and those feelings come back. Or, we can use our energy towards something positive. We can release it in a good way. It has to go somewhere, so we either store it in our bodies or release it. The other option is taking four steps to respond to our panic and do things to turn it into a purpose.
Acknowledge your feelings. If you’re scared, worried, and panicked, the first step is to acknowledge you are having those feelings. Just let it be there for a minute. You might be thinking, “I don’t want to be feeling this. Why should I acknowledge it?”
Have you ever been super snappy and then someone says something, and you get really angry and you don’t know why? You just don’t want anyone to talk to you. Do you ever feel that way? And then someone asks, are you hungry? And you think, “oh my gosh, I AM hungry.”
Well, when you realize why you are feeling a certain way, that feeling has less power over you. The moment you realize it, that anger is not so strong and you almost laugh at yourself. That’s the same thing we need to do with our emotions all the time.
Wherever you are right now, in a state of anger or panic, fear and worry, be nice to yourself. Acknowledge your feelings. Forgive yourself for feeling that way. You are human. It’s okay to feel this way. When you are hard on yourself and you start to judge yourself and say negative things, it is only going to make you feel worse. Just pep talk yourself. The negative self-talk is only going to make you feel worse. So go easy on yourself for how you’re feeling.
This one is a step I learned from Byron Katy, who is a spiritual teacher and author. She teaches how to ask yourself, “Is this true?”
What I want you to do is start looking at the fears you have.
The fear I was having last night was, “what if one of us gets the corona-virus and has to be in isolation?” “Where are we going to isolate?”
At that moment, I asked myself, is it true that someone is going to get the corona-virus?
If you ask yourself the first time if something is true, you’ll probably say, “yeah it’s true.”
Now you have to ask yourself, is it REALLY true? This makes you start to dissect your fear. When I really look at that, I say, “Well we are taking all of the precautions, we are doing everything we can, and someone might get it, but are they going to die?” Statistically, only one percent of people that get the virus is going to die.
So that’s what you do. Ask if it’s true. And then ask again. You may have to ask a third or fourth time. It takes the thoughts in your head and brings it down to earth. When you do this, you are taking all of those thoughts and releasing some of that energy that the thoughts build up.
This step is to use that energy, all of the energy that was created out of fear, anxiety, panic, struggle, worry, and depression, all of those low-frequency feelings and put it into something purposeful. You have two choices. You can numb it and shove it down for a little bit, but it will come back. Or you can start to take that energy and devote it somewhere else.
Ninety-eight percent or more of the people on the planet have no idea what their purpose is. They don’t know what they are good at, or how to fulfill their purpose. But this is a really big opportunity to try and learn that.
Start off small. Write down the areas or interests in your life, that if you got into a conversation about that topic, you would be the last one standing. Write down things that you could outlast someone in a conversation about.
I think that a lot of times, especially now, we all want to do something to help. We don’t know what to do.
There are so many things we take for granted in ourselves that other people don’t have.
When you think about a topic that you have that lights you up, the things that you enjoy, that is where you can start. Just by having an interest and realizing it. What is your thing? Is it talking about shopping? Getting discounts on food and clothes? Are you good at communicating? Or teaching? Use that thing you are interested in to start helping someone else. Someone who isn’t at the place you are at yet. Even if it’s just one person. That is how you start to find your purpose!
The Purpose of Our Panic
This whole pandemic, or the stages of grief with your child’s diagnosis, it’s meant to put little seeds in your heart. But you have to move through the panic first. Because if you stay in panic, fear, frustration, and worry, it’s hard to see what can come from that.
But these are tools and things you can use so you don’t have to be paralyzed with fear.
Start thinking and believing that whatever you are going through is for a reason and if you lean into it, it can be the start of something that transforms your life and the world.
- I really think that we have a lot going on in our life right now. If we don’t use the tools in our tool belt, we can really get sucked down a black hole. If that’s you right now, you are not alone. You are listening to someone right now who goes through the same thing.
- Acknowledge your feelings. If you’re scared, worried, and panicked, the first step is to acknowledge you are having those feelings. Just let it be there for a minute. Once you recognize why you are feeling something, it immediately loses complete control over you.
- Be kind to yourself. No one responds well to someone yelling at them to calm down or to stop crying or screaming. So, why should we talk to ourselves that way? Tell yourself it’s okay to feel how you are feeling. It’s normal and human.
- Question the truth behind your fear. Is it something that is really going to happen? What is the actual truth in the anxiety and fears that you have in your head? By questioning ourselves, we bring those thoughts down to a level where we can dissect them.
- Use your energy from those feelings of panic to find the things that you are good at that you can help someone else with. It doesn’t matter what it is. Start small. Whether you are good at shopping, writing, home-workouts, etc, use that skill to help at least one other person and this will point you in the right direction of devoting your energy to a better purpose.
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