It is at the point of shared planning and caring that the domain of heart is entered. We know that life challenges must be matched with psychological support. Under stress it is not healthy for us to go it alone. “A little help from our friends [and family]” should be a guiding principle. Obviously, this isn’t always easy when those around us are involved in the same stressful situation—as certainly is the case with the virus.
Helpful advice from Our Colleague in Singapore: Dr. Sunita Rai shares her insights and wisdom regarding mindfulness practices and prayer–borrowing from the healing traditions of India. Here is link to her short essay about how East can teach West:
The Power Law of Support: There is an important point to make regarding the critical role played by heart-based actions. The point is that we are facing a world filled with “power laws”. What does this mean? Power laws operate when a change is occurring that is now only accelerating but also doubling in size and scope very quickly. This is what’s known as exponential growth (growth by a power of 2 or 3). The COVID-19 crisis is one of these power law changes.
The number of people exposed to the virus and testing positive is increasing at an alarming rate. This, in turn, means that our own personal and collective fears and levels of anxiety are also increasing at an exponential rate. So we need INCREASING SUPPORT AT AN EXPONENTIAL RATE to match the exponential challenge. The following video link addresses the nature of support we should be looking for and enacting to meet the exponential virus challenge.
On Facebook, people who have survived the virus can join a group called “Survivor Corps”. This group is for survivors who have developed an immunity to COVID-19. It is a task group effort to direct these survivors to those in need to help bring about lifesaving services and support to individuals and communities in need.
Elsewhere on this website, we offer additional suggestions about how to request and how to offer support and offer links to essays we have published in the Library of Professional Psychology. One of these links takes us to psychological lessons to be learned from Xiaoyun (Sharon) Ma, a member of our task force in China:
We also are offering links to professional services that can provide support from an external source that isn’t as immediately wrapped up in your stressful environment (though professionals are themselves now experiencing their own challenges – that can be engaged by them in fully appreciating the multi-dimensional (problematic) issues you are facing .
There is a somewhat different way of framing the condition in which each of us find ourselves in our pandemic world. As we noted above (and in the videocast), with regard to hope and heart, we are in need of a sanctuary – whether or not we are currently infected by the virus. We all long for a place in which to get away from the immediate challenge, so that we can do the slow thinking and can re-create our energy, spirit and motivation to take action.
The sanctuary might be an activity (such as exercise), a place in our home (such as a den or bedroom) where we can be alone for a brief period of time) or a relationship with a loved one or a trusted friend. Sanctuary can also be found in a moment of meditation. We offer you a link to the Tree Medication offered by Dr. Sunita Rai, a member of our Global Psychology Task Force:
How might sanctuaries help us more fully appreciate the positive parts of our life—despite the pervasive challenge of the virus? One of the resources we are providing is an essay about sanctuary: what is the nature of various sanctuaries and what benefits do they yield. What are true sanctuaries and what are false ones? How do sanctuaries relate to our need for support to match the challenge? We offer a link (as we do in our essay on Hope) to this relevant essay:
Finally, what about that part of our heart that is not always so pleasant or appreciative? How do we deal with our anger about what is happening in our community, our country or our world in response to the virus. Who is messing it up? Who is at fault? What can I do, if anything, to influence what is happening in our community or country? We know that anger which leads to nothing more than internal turmoil is harmful to our physical and mental health. So, what do we do with this anger? We offer several resources on this website that address this issue of anger. You might find these of value – or might offer these resources to your angry partner, child or parent. Sadly, we are often the target of other people’s anger—and this is certainly not a very good time for us to be the target of something more than a threatening virus.
We hope you find the resources we are providing to be helpful to your health, head and heart.