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Take a moment to reflect

You have what it takes

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ"

The fear of uncertainty and the enormous emotional burden of the current crisis can exceed people’s ability to cope. Maintaining our mental health at present is crucial for both our immune health and to avoid emotional breakdown. Mindfulness and faith at such time can help build healthy coping skills and the ability to see beyond the crisis.

Our body’s ability to produce antibodies decreases during high levels of stress. It is crucial we stay calm as possible and look after our immune health to decrease susceptibility to viral infections. Good mental health is crucial for a healthy immune system and in order to cope with the massive emotional strain 

 Please note: This information is provided as an educational purpose and to encourage you to stay well during the crisis, and not to be taken as therapeutic advice.

Put your thoughts on trial and stop anxiety from winning   

Survival mode

Overcome the fear with power of love and sound mind

Science of why we panic?

The biggest agony of the current crisis is the emotional toll. The toxicity of negativity and stress is not only more infectious than the virus, but social distancing can also raise its susceptibility. During a high level of stress, our brain assumes that we are in danger and the sympathetic nervous system typically rev's up by releasing adrenaline, preparing the body for action and switching off rational thinking.


During the extreme circumstances of today's crisis our ability to think clearly and rationally can be undermined by anxiety, panic and exhaustion. Simultaneously it can impact our immune health. The best thing we can do in the current situation, and that is within our control, is to maintain our emotional, spiritual and physical health the best way possible. We need our body, mind and spirit to cope with the stresses of life.

Automatic thinking and responding to unexpected events

Some people may have a genetic predisposition toward panic and stress.  However, when people are living under high levels of stress, a very small additional amount of stress can trigger panic. During a panic attack, people can easily act irrationally. Most people don't mean to act thoughtlessly or selfishly, people simply act based on what they are programmed to do by what they believe. Beliefs based on our experience can rule how we act at any given time. The learned habits have become natural to people. Secondly, it is not unusual for people to act drastically when they are faced with uncertainty or things are getting out of their control. The fact is, that this truly is the reality each day of our lives. We do not have control over everything, but we are in the habit of living our lives on autopilot. 

Although subconsciously, we are aware that life is uncertain and we are not in control of tomorrow. We live as if we have all the time in the world, and we have the desire to control everything, if we can. During our fast-paced living, almost 95% of what we do, is done at the subconscious level. We do a minimal amount of conscious thinking. But, when an event occurs that highlights the uncertainty of life, our natural desire for certainty, causes us to panic and take drastic measures, we simply go into survival mode. 

What happens when in survival mode?

Once we feel threatened by something, our brain will start to trigger us to pay attention to anything and everything that can go wrong, in order to try to keep us safe. When we panic we are not sure which way to turn, so we look for any opportunities to find a sense of safety and hope. As we only see the danger during a threat, the focus is running out the first door we see, regardless of where it leads to. But, if we learn to stop for a moment, and to avoid doing the first thing that comes to mind, the shift from emotional to rational means we make better decisions and reduce later regrets, and our decisions are most likely to be thoughtful and successful.  Secondly, learn to be mindful at all times, to stop living subconsciously. What we believe will lead to how we think, how we think will lead to how we act. This is a good time to evaluate our thoughts and how we see the world. Our experience in life may have created a narrative in our mind which can cause us to act certain ways without much thinking. Maybe this is an opportunity to do some conscious thinking, to test our theories about life and the justification for our actions and also focus on what matters the most. 

Acting in a panic
Stop panicking

A two-step process of managing anxiety 

Step 1 - Become aware of your feelings

Staying mindful is powerful and comes with practice. Being aware of our feelings at any given time and  of our usual response to them. Think intentionally. For example: Notice how you respond when you are worried or fearful of something (doing the first thing comes to your mind, freezing or trying to avoid the whole thing? And if you realised later on that you did something without thinking, ask yourself what feelings or what belief led you to do that? Check for any evidence to see if your thoughts were true, e.g. "everything is going wrong" and is it really true? Testing your subconscious thoughts can help you to see the whole picture because fear has a way of magnifying the worst so that we would act to survive. Each time you stop and test your thoughts, you will see possibilities, hope, open doors that were hidden by fear. This is one way to notice and manage emotions rather than been driven by them, and to change the existing narrative of life. It WILL become easier each time you practice.  


Step 2 - Calm (manage) your feelings

Once we are aware of the emotions, we can choose to take control of them. This action varies for different people. I personally find praying and meditating on a relevant scripture (a principle of acting thoughtfully), helps me to calm down and feeling empowered. This is due to my personal experience, for me, my hope lies within my faith and it has changed the way I act.  This may be different for you. However, the best way to neurologically clear our bloodstream of cortisol within a little as one minute is to breathe. It is important to breathe gently through your nose in order to calm your nerves so that we can start thinking consciously. Keep in mind, fast breathing through the mouth can lead to a panic attack. Follow the breading exercise below to firstly calm yourself. Then evaluate your thinking, what do you believe in?

Manging anxiety
stuck in apanic
Capturing thoughts
Image by jose aljovin

How do I stop from going over and over my fears?

It's a little bit like driving. We see hazards on the road, some are there to guide us, other's just happen to be there. We notice them, but avoid them and keep our focus on the road. If we focus on the hazard, we can end up driving into it, and then we can go off the road.

In order to avoid a hazard from driving us off the rails, we must first notice it. This means not denying that it's there, remember it could be there to guide us, such as anxious thoughts about something we shouldn't do. Recognising the purpose of thoughts is important so that we don't end up saying that I am an anxious person.


If we try to fight thoughts by focussing on them, so much we will be driven by them. So, rather than fighting them, learn to stop your mind, refocus. Our mind is not very productive at doing two things at the same time.

Just like when driving, notice it and think, what is the purpose of this thought? Is it a detour? Is it telling me something is the up head? If it does not serve any good purpose, simply decide to focus on something that's important or pleasant.


Like driving, we might hit the curb a few times at first, but after while, it becomes second nature. We are habitual creatures, most parts of our life are about forming and breaking habits. Denying and fighting thoughts can be counterproductive. This will end up building on the power of that thought, even more. 

We all know it's easier to form habits than to brake them. So, instead of trying to stop your habit of worrying, shift your focus and start a new way of thinking. It will take little effort and consistency, but the outcome will change your life for the better.


Overthinking has a way of leading us into the unknown and unfamiliar, 'What if?' is the path to uncertainty.

It doesn’t stop there, it will carry on to a place of 'I should' and 'only if I could', before too long we will end up at anxiety and hopelessness, because it seems there is nothing we can do about it.


The fact is, we just ended up exactly where we focussed on, which is beyond our capacity and beyond today.

The truth is we cannot do anything about what tomorrow will be, however, we can do everything within our capacity today. We will always be in today. Never yesterday or tomorrow. So, focus on today and now. Focus on things that matter right now, use what you have, do your best, if you fail don’t give up. When the flesh is weak, let the spirit lead. Because it has been said when we are weak, God is strong.

The truth is we cannot do anything about what tomorrow will be, however, we can do everything within our capacity today. We will always be in today. Never yesterday or tomorrow. So, focus on today and now. Focus on things that matter right now, use what you have, do your best, if you fail don’t give up. When the flesh is weak let the spirit lead. Because it has been said when we are weak, God is strong.

What happens when people get stuck in panic or anxiety mode?

Image by Stefano Pollio

Being stuck in panic mode can be seen as a constant feeling of threat/fear or being chased by a hungry lion. Neurologically speaking, it is simply experiencing the constant release of stress hormones which prevents many aspects of rational thinking and feeling happy. This can lead to a worsening of the existing anxiety and fears of a person. Health issues, including depression, change the way we see the world, impacting the way we perceive others and how we feel emotionally. 

Unfortunately, this can include a lack of empathy, compassion and anger, as we have observed during the past few weeks in our community. Most recent research has revealed that gratitude and kind hearts lead to improved immune health, but negative thoughts can lead to ill health. Proverbs was written over 2000 years ago “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”. Joy comes from knowing that all is well. To realise this, we must stop and notice our surroundings intentionally, and become aware of how we think on a daily basis. If we carry on living on autopilot at times such as today, it is most likely we will see more negative than good around us. Let's learn to stop every now and then, think about our thinking, and be mindful of others around us. We need each other.

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