QUOTES & WISDOM
TOP OF THE MIND
QUOTES & WISDOMfrom the Top of the Mind
QUOTES & WISDOM
Top of the Mind
Nancy Perovic, RN, BSN
University Of Chicago Hospitals, Chicago, IL
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COVID-19: How to Stay Safe Using Awareness vs. Worry
This is a quote that I use in all of my books and seminars because I believe that it is one of the main keys to creating the life that we want. In fact, my “Life from the Top of the Mind” philosophy is all about how raising our awareness of how the brain works can allow us to have a tremendous amount of influence in our lives, and in the lives of others.
Given the challenges that we are facing today with the coronavirus, I feel that the concept of staying safe by using awareness versus worry is especially important. Of course, I understand the concern that people have with respect to this virus, I’m just suggesting that we not be driven by fear or worry when making decisions on how to deal with the problem.
Why? Because fear, worry, and anxiety trigger the lower 20% of the brain (the brainstem) which is the part of our brain that is designed to keep us safe in situations where reacting quickly without thinking is required. If someone slams on their brakes in front of us, or if someone jumps out of the bushes with the intent to do us harm, then this reactive brain takes over and allows us to react in a way that has the potential to keep us safe.
However, in situations such as the one we are facing today, reacting without thinking is not what is called for. In fact, being able to make the wisest, most purposeful choice based upon the facts is not only going to serve us with respect to making good decisions about how to stay safe, it also engages the part of the brain that triggers chemicals, such as, serotonin and endorphins. These help us think clearly and support our body (immune system, blood pressure, etc.) in fighting off the bacteria that have the potential to cause us harm, while the lower brain triggers chemicals such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol that actually shut down our immune system and interfere with our body’s natural ability to fight disease.
Unfortunately, most of us have grown up with the belief that worry keeps us safe, and, therefore, tend to find ourselves worrying without even being aware of it. While we often can’t control our first thought, we can make a purposeful decision on whether we are going to feed that worry and/or use it as an energy to stay safe.
There is a Zen quote I love that says, “That the birds of worry fly over our head, this we cannot change, but that we let them build nests in our hair, this we can prevent.”
Therefore, if you would rather be driven by wisdom and awareness versus worry, I suggest that you practice becoming aware of the thoughts that are influencing your state of mind, and decide if you would indeed recommend these thoughts/feelings/etc. to someone that you love?
We all want ourselves and those we love to be safe – and – if we can make those decisions about safety from the clear, confident, creative part of the brain (versus the worried, anxious, or frightened brain), we will benefit in so many ways.
Therefore, I suggest that we follow Dr. Einstein’s advice and use awareness versus worry to drive our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors while dealing with this current problem, and maybe all problems in the future, that require our wisdom and purposefulness… versus simply reacting out of fear.
~ All the best, Dr. Bill