Sometimes, we ask for change.
We quit our jobs, we end relationships, or we move to a new city.
But other times, the world hands us change we didn’t expect.
Tragedies, terrorism, shootings, fires, and the latest… Coronavirus.
When change happens in the world that we didn’t ask for, it requires so much mental toughness because you have to transition in a way you didn’t expect to and don’t want to.
There’s so much resistance that comes with this that if you don’t manage your mind, you’ll be left feeling irritated at best or panicked at worst.
To make the most out of it and get some control back, I’m showing you exactly what to do.
In this episode, I give you the steps to manage your mind when there’s chaos going on in the world.
Here are more of my favorite mindset resources:
- What To Do When There’s Chaos In The World (blog post)
- Mindset Hacks (podcast)
- Mindset Blog Posts (blog posts to read)
- When It’s Hard And Problems Are Forever (podcast)
- Personal Development Master Class(free training)
- Grow You (coaching)
Full Episode Transcript
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
Hello, my lovely. I am here with you today talking with you about when there’s chaos going on in the world. So I had a completely different podcast ready to go for you that I will play next week and from there on we are going to go about our regularly scheduled programming around here, but I wanted to pause and bring you something that I think will really help you kind of with what’s going on right now. So it’s worth mentioning that it is March, 2020 the middle of the month and coronavirus has pretty much just shut down everything and everyone is freaking out. So there’s a lot of chatter going on that’s creating a lot of fear and what I want to do is give you some tools that can help you when it seems like there’s chaos going on in the world.
Now I’m talking about coronavirus and using that as an example, but this would apply anytime there’s a recession, maybe a terrorist attack or just something else kind of outside your control going on in the world that’s particularly scary, that makes things uncertain or tragic in some way. I think that this is the most important time for you to manage your mind and as a life coach I have those tools that I can help you use and in this episode I’m going to give you my best tools and also remind you that you can always come and join Grow You. I am doing a bonus call for members. Um, I’m doing one tomorrow and I am doing them kind of sporadically specifically on this topic of coronavirus so that you kind of get your own little mini therapy session, for lack of a better word, so you can help manage your mind around this.
A lot of times there’s really no one else who’s there to help you with this because everyone else is also indulging in the fear and I can help you manage your mind so that you can get to a cleaner place and process your emotions and manage your mind during this season and really during any season. I like to say that people kind of come to me either if they have a problem that they want help with or you know, they want to be future focused and set really big goals. So regardless of the emotion that you’re kind of experiencing right now, this will apply to you whenever there’s something going on in the world, kind of outside your control. Right now we’re talking about coronavirus.
The first kind of thing that I want you to do, I want you to take some time to write down what’s going on in your mind. It sounds kind of simple and maybe like, yeah, I’ll just skip that step. Or you know, I have so many other things to do, right? I need to go to the grocery store. I need to check the schedules and I want to like be rushing around. But what I want you to do is pause and give yourself 10 to 30 minutes, right? If you can only swing 10 do 10 if you can do 30 do 30, do this every day. Do it in the morning if you can, if not, at night. Carve out specific space for you to write. And I want you to write down all the thoughts that you have, everything that’s coming up. Write down what you’re worried about. Write down how you’re feeling. Get it all out there. And don’t pick up your pen. So I don’t want you to be judging your thoughts. I just want you to write and write and write to just go on this rant about the worries and the fears and the government and the kids and the scheduling and your business and your job and the germs and your events and the travel plans and the vacations and the decisions you have to make. Don’t judge yourself. Just write it all down. Okay?
And then once you’re done, I want you to look back at it and on a separate piece of paper I want you to go through it and read what you just wrote down and on that separate page, write down the facts. Now, the facts will be very boring. So a lot of times what I’m hearing right now is people thinking that they’re reporting facts, but they’re actually thoughts. And you know it’s a thought if the word, if the sentence has an adjective in it that kind of hints at the opinion of it. So if you said the event was abruptly cancelled, that’s a thought. That’s not a fact. The fact would be the event was canceled. Okay. There’s no adjectives in the facts. It’s kind of boring. Like if I said to you, the event was cancelled, you don’t really know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. You’re just kind of waiting for me to tell you more.
So I want you to write down all of the facts. The facts are just kind of the math of it. That’s what I call it in Grow You. It’s just, it’s the math and the thoughts are all of the drama. It’s what’s going on in our mind. Okay? So maybe you’ve checked out the CDC website and you do have some facts in what you just wrote down. So write down those facts. Maybe you have a loved one who has cancer, who you don’t want to be exposed to this. So you’d write down, you know, my grandmother has cancer, maybe your kids aren’t in school for three weeks. So you would write down kids’ school clothes for three weeks. You just want to make sure that the facts that you’re writing down are just very neutral. You can’t tell the opinion of them.
And then I want you to notice how everything else that you wrote down are your thoughts. And they’re optional. So I don’t want you to beat yourself up and I don’t want you to be judgmental. So I want you to be really compassionate, but I want you to be onto your brain. So your brain is always going to go to the worst case scenario. And your brain is wired for survival. So one of its main jobs is to keep you alive. And that’s been really great to get us here and the evolution and make sure that you’re safe and that you stay alive. So it’s really normal for your brain to default to thinking in extremes. I call this your toddler brain. It kind of freaks out. It means well, but if you don’t manage it, it’s kind of like a toddler running around with a butter knife. It’s kind of dangerous, but it means well.
So your job is to manage your mind from your prefrontal cortex and to calm your brain down and to get to the facts versus your thoughts about the facts. Your brain is going to look for evidence of what you already believe and it’s going to look for evidence of what other people tell you. And it’s going to kind of go off the rails if you don’t manage it. And this is just because it’s wired for survival and it wants you to stay safe and alive.
So some of you are coming to me and you’re really, really worried and others of you are coming to me and you’re not worried at all. And there’s kind of these extremes and there’s a lot of judgment. And what I want you to do is I want you to see where you’re at and check in with yourself. So in all of the things you wrote down, are you irritated or are you worried or are you frustrated? And what I want you to do is I want you to give yourself time every day to feel all the feelings, but I want you to schedule that time. So it might look like, okay, for 20 minutes every morning I am going to worry. I’m just going to worry my face off for 20 minutes. And then you’re just going to be done worrying for the day. This is how you can allow yourself to really be present in the feelings without having it take over the entire day. Okay? And if you do this combined with writing down all your thoughts and kind of analyzing your thoughts versus the circumstances, you will find that you’re going to increase your awareness. Most of the chaos right now is in our own brains. Okay? So if you give yourself space and if you give yourself some breathing room and time to feel all the feelings and know that it’s okay to feel worried without kind of indulging in the worry, you can just say, oh, there’s some worry.
I can give you an example. I was just flying home. I was supposed to go to an event and I flew there and while I was on my way there, the event got cancelled. So I needed to get a flight back that same day, which I did. And on my flight back I was just a little bit on edge, more on edge than normal. I don’t get nervous lying, you know, everything was fine. There was no turbulence, but I just felt off and instead of pushing it away and thinking there was a big problem, I just noticed it and I said, oh, I’m a little bit on edge. Let me just be with it. Let me just process this emotion and hold the space for that. So that’s what I want you to do. This is so much more useful than feeling the worry, freaking out, calling someone else, spewing all of your worry, turning on the news, you know, gathering more information to increase your worry and then worrying all day. You kind of want to control the worry, for lack of a better word. And I say that and I laugh, but I don’t want you to resist the worry. I want you to allow it and be present with it and then I want you to be done with it and move on.
Part of this means you might want to put constraints on your media input. So you might say, okay, I really want to be informed, right? I personally do, and you might as well, and I want to be educated. So I might choose maybe the CDC’s website and maybe one news station and say, okay, I’m going to pay attention to the media every day for 30 minutes or for one hour and then I’m done with it. Because I find that if we don’t put constraints around our media input, our brain will fixate on it all day and it will never stop. So for you, put some constraints around the time you are allowing yourself to have that media input. TV, podcasts, whatever the news is for you during this time, stay informed and educated, but ask yourself what you need to know, right? Find out what you need to know and then be done with it.
So your brain really, really, really does not like the unknown. So it kind of feels like the responsible thing to do to research at length to try to figure out answers to problems we don’t yet have. Right? So if your kids are out of school for three weeks and you just found this out, you might be trying to figure out how to even educate them for three weeks and what to do. And all of these things. Yeah. But the school hasn’t even given you their plan yet. And so you’re trying to solve for a problem that they’re going to kind of help you solve and your brain just hates the unknown so much that it’s like researching it incessantly and that’s just not useful.
It’s also like the grocery store thing, right? So yes, right now for coronavirus, they want us to stay home. Right? And the word quarantine has been thrown around a lot. Different cities around the world are quarantined. And you might decide personally to kind of quarantine yourself or just kind of stay home to the extent you can. So a lot of people are going out to the grocery store and stockpiling on food and to some extent that might be useful, right? You might say, okay, well if we need to stay home for two weeks, they kind of throw around the 14 day rule with coronavirus. If we need to stay home for two weeks, I want to be prepared. So you want to do that, right. But just remember that the government doesn’t want us to die from coronavirus. It doesn’t want us to all get coronavirus at the same time, but it also doesn’t want us to starve to death. So the government is going to come up with a solution for us to make sure we get food. It’s not like the government’s going to say everyone has to go inside and is never going to be able to come out to get food again. Okay?
And that’s sounds a little bit silly, but I find that that’s where our brains are going. It’s like, well, we went to the grocery store and they’re out of food, so now I’m going to die. Right? That’s your brain is like, I can’t solve this problem, but it’s really not a problem yet. So one thing that I teach a lot, whenever there’s an issue or problem about the future, since your brain hates the unknown, is to bring it back to right now. Like I always remind myself, okay, I have enough food for today, right? I have enough money for today. I can take care of myself today. Now if there’s an opportunity to get a little more food, have a little more money, I’m probably gonna do that. But if it’s a little bit more scarce than normal, I just want to watch my mind and remind myself that thinking I don’t have enough money or I’m going to run out of food is not useful, it’s going to feel really bad and create a lot of panic that’s not necessary. Right? I haven’t run out of food yet, so it’s not useful for me to think I’m going to run out of food.
So for you, I want you to think about how you want to think about this and I want you to think about how your feeling on default and how you want to feel ahead of time. So notice that maybe what you wrote down or maybe what other people are saying to you or it may be the thoughts that you are thinking aren’t necessarily the ones that you want to continue to be thinking. Some of them you may want to keep and some of them you may not want to keep.
So some of the thoughts that I find to not be useful are thoughts that have adjectives that incite panic. So this is horrific. The world is devastated. This is a global crisis. The economy is crumbling. Everyone is losing money. It can feel very real, but those are just thoughts. None of those are facts and notice you don’t have to think them. You know, you can think thoughts, I’m safe, my family’s safe, my brain doesn’t like the unknown and that’s okay. I have enough money for today, I have enough food for today. My family is okay. There’s no rush. And you can even take it a step further and look at the positive, right? Maybe it’s good that I have more time with my family, right? Tell yourself things like it’s safe to have fun right now. Notice that this is an opportunity to practice resilience and you can get stronger because of this. And notice that you can care deeply about what’s going on without worrying.
A lot of times we think that worry is the responsible thing to do, but that’s because we haven’t really brought awareness to what worry is. So there is what’s going on right now and then there is what’s going to be going on tomorrow and the next day and the next day and there’s all these new circumstances and we’re creating all these new results in our own lives and worry isn’t going to change any of it. So you can genuinely be informed and prepared without worrying at all. I don’t think worry is ever useful and I have said that before, but I find it so interesting that people now are thinking that it doesn’t apply. I 100% don’t think that worrying is going to help. You can help yourself, your family and society without ever feeling worried.
Now I say that, but I don’t want you to beat yourself up if you’re just in a state of worry and finding it hard to get out of it, it’s totally fine. You can give yourself worry time every day and be kind and compassionate to yourself, but notice what you’re thinking that’s causing the worry. You might be thinking, I’m unprepared. This shouldn’t be happening. This is getting dangerous. Okay, and question those thoughts. That’s just a way for you to bring awareness to what’s going on and for you to focus on what you can control, which is your own mind. And when you do this, when you look inward and you take care of yourself and your mental and emotional health, that is actually going to show up in your family, in your home, and, in the world, it’s the best thing you can do, right?
It’s going to be also really tempting for you to want to escape your negative emotions. A lot of us do this with over eating, over drinking or overspending, and I want you to pause and not do this because what you’re going to do is you’re going to seek that external pleasure and it’s going to feel worse once you come off that short term high. So instead, manage your mind through this thought work, honor your feelings and process them and then plan those pleasures, the food, the alcohol, and the shopping ahead of time. What I teach in Grow You is to plan at least one day in advance, more days in advance if you can. That way you’re planning from your prefrontal cortex.
While you’re going through this, another thing that I want to encourage you to do is to practice really good self care and create new routines out of the transition period. So anytime there’s a transition, we create resistance. And this makes sense if you think about momentum, it’s a lot easier to keep going on the path that you’re already going. It’s a lot harder to change the path, right? Especially when you didn’t choose the change. So you know, think of quitting your job. It’s lot easier to to just stay in the job you’re currently in. It’s a lot easier to continue to eat the way you’re eating, you know, than it is to change your entire food plan. It’s a lot easier to stay in the routines you’ve stayed in, but when something like coronavirus happens and the government shuts down schools and events, you’re forced into changing your routine. You’re forced into a transition that you yourself didn’t even choose to do. Right? It’s one thing to choose to go on a diet or quit your job, at least you felt like you chose that transition. But here you didn’t really choose the transition. And I want you to just be aware that transitions are uncomfortable by nature because it’s easier to continue on the path you’re already on. Your brain likes consistency. It likes efficiency. It likes to just keep doing what it’s always done.
So because this is new and different, it takes us off the normal course of things. So there’s this enormous resistance. And what I want you to do is allow the resistance, say, oh, this feels uncomfortable because I have to make all of these decisions. My brain is tired, be on to your brain and allow you know yourself to be tired. Allow yourself to notice the resistance and be with it without beating yourself up like, oh, this is uncomfortable, and that’s okay. Oh, I have to make 10 new decisions that I didn’t want to make. That’s okay. This is an opportunity for you to practice being resilient. The world is always changing, right? If you are unwilling to learn how to change and adapt, you will increase your resistance because the world will continue to change. You now have the opportunity to practice being really, really intentional about not only how you live your life, but being really good at kind of bouncing back from when things get rough or when things change.
This doesn’t have to be a problem, so it’s only a problem if you tell yourself it’s a problem. This can be an opportunity for you to live more intentionally, to show up as the best version of yourself, to get stronger, to help your family, to practice thought work, and learn how to manage your mind for all of it. There’s so much opportunity for growth here, especially because it’s such a big transition that you probably did not anticipate.
So when you’re making decisions and when you’re taking new actions, I want you to pay attention to your feelings, driving your actions. The example that I want to give you is washing your hands. So let’s say that you are washing your hands twice as much as normal during this coronavirus outbreak. Are you washing your hands because you’re afraid, right? Afraid of getting sick, afraid of you know, the disease in general, afraid of it spreading. Are you in a state of panic? Or are you washing your hands because you want to be like an example of good health and notice the feeling that’s causing you to take action and wash your hands. I think most people are acting from fear. Okay? And that is not going to serve you. You can be responsible, you can take action, you can help others and help yourself through being a model of good health through feeling appreciation.
So when you’re taking all these new actions, I just want you to bring some awareness to how you’re feeling before the action. It could be steady, it could be controlling, it could be um, worried. It could be afraid and I want you to allow those emotions, but I want you to pause before you act so that you don’t kind of get in a state of unconsciousness where you are so worried and panicked that you are not slowing down to decide what to think and feel on purpose. You can respond, you can decide, and you can be really thoughtful during this time instead of being so reactive. But it does take intentionality on your part.
The final thing that I want to talk with you about is remembering that all of the circumstances in the world are neutral and this means that you have all of the power. So remember in the beginning how I talked about how I want you to separate out all the facts from your thoughts. The reason I wanted you to do this is because I want you to see that those facts, those circumstances are neutral. And it doesn’t mean that you don’t want to think a negative thought about it, right? Cause a lot of times people won’t put a neutral circumstance, they won’t write down the facts, they’ll write down the devastation of coronavirus, right? When that’s a thought because they think that they have to be happy about it. But that’s not true.
If coronavirus is the circumstance, if the school’s closing is the circumstance, if the event getting cancelled is the circumstance. If you know losing $20,000 in the stock market is the circumstance, you get to decide what you want to make it mean. The power is in knowing it’s in your decision. It doesn’t mean that you have to be happy about it. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be worried about it. It just means that you have all of the power with respect to how you want to think about any circumstance. And this doesn’t mean that you separate yourself from others and tell them that they’re, you know, thinking about things wrong as we’re kind of tempted to do when when we start doing our own thought work, right? We start noticing other people’s thoughts. What I want you to do instead is have compassion and love for other people who are just trying to figure it out just like you are and notice your own mind and that’s going to serve you really well.
And when you’re kind of tempted to talk with other people and kind of magnify the problem and make it worse for yourself and add on the suffering thoughts of this shouldn’t be happening, right? Of course it should be happening. How do we know? Because it is. Now what? How do you want to show up? How do you want to think? How can you help? Right? How can you create more love and health and give more? How can you have positive thoughts during this time? How can you support your community? Those are the types of questions that if you start asking your brain, your brain will look for the answers, right? If you ask questions that aren’t serving you, like how many people are going to be harmed and what’s going to happen next and how can this even be happening? That’s gonna put your brain to work on more worry.
So just notice that it’s so normal for your brain to spin out and create a lot of internal chaos when there are circumstances that are so unexpected happening in the world. Let me remind you that would ever the problem is, thought work is the solution. People ask me why they would ever hire a life coach. My best friend was just visiting her grandma in Florida, trying to explain to her what, um, she does for me. She also works in my business and we were just laughing because it was just really funny. They, they really could not understand what a life coach is. And so we were having some good laughs at that. But it just reminded me just hearing that story from her and then kind of seeing what’s going on with coronavirus. It just reminded me the importance of me conveying life coaching to you.
Everyone needs a life coach because everyone has a problem. Whether it’s coronavirus, whether it’s a terrorist attack or whether it’s a divorce or whether it’s you know, a job loss or starting a business or wherever you’re at in your life that you want help with managing your mind so that you can feel better and move forward and show up how you want to show up and work through the tough times and also optimize your life and create the results you want. That is what a life coach is for. I can show you your mind and show you how to solve your problems and help you feel better and give you the steps to move forward.
So I want to remind you that there is nothing that you can’t handle. There is nothing that you have to worry about. It doesn’t make you more responsible. You can be informed and be prepared and love yourself and love your family and show up intentionally every day and get stronger through it. I think that through some of the greatest kind of tragedies or kind of events that we don’t expect, whether it’s like a terrorist attack, a shooting, or coronavirus, you know, as bad as it is, we always get the opposite as well. So there’s going to be this outpouring of love and support that we’re going to see in our society and I just love looking for that and remembering that you know, the world continues on and that you have everything you need today. You can solve your problems today and you got you and I got you. All right. That’s what I have for you today. I will talk with you next week.
Hey, if you liked this podcast you really should check out, Grow You, my life coaching program. I coach you on everything I teach on the podcast so that you can uplevel your life. We 10x it so you get the results you want most. Just like a monthly gym membership to get your body in shape, this is a monthly personal development membership to get your mind in shape. It is an investment your future self will thank you for. Check it out at Nataliebacon.com/coaching. That’s Nataliebacon.com/coaching. I will see you there.