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I believe we are who we are today based on every single experience we’ve had up until this moment. Yes, even the unpleasant ones.

The secret to not feeling and acting like a victim is to use our power of choice. We ultimately choose how we respond, not react, to adversity or change. And how we choose to respond rewires our brains and gives us access to emotions and ways of being we never thought possible in a situation like coronavirus.

Our brains are very powerful. You can change the way you feel by shifting a thought, and this shift takes only milliseconds. Also, the way we word our thoughts (aka, the repetitive subliminal language messages you repeat over and over again) and the conversations we have can directly impact mood and shift the body’s hormonal response.

For example, you can tell your children, “You can’t go to school because of the coronavirus and you will have to do your work from home,” or you can tell them, “You get to do your schoolwork and learn from home. The coronavirus is still impacting how we normally do things.”

The first way was stated in a negative tone. When we say things in a negative tone it causes a negative chemical response in the body (aka, can increase our cortisol levels and trigger our fight-or-flight response). When we say things from a more positive and controlled state we can feel more positive and in control.

Anything we fight internally causes unrest within us. Choosing “it,” whatever it may be, allows us to calmly assess what we’re dealing with, and move away from it, if we want to. Until we choose it, we might find ourselves a victim of it, as opposed to being powerfully engaged with it and knowing what to do next.

Let’s fill in the word “it” with “coronavirus.” Yup, this is a tough one because who really wants to choose THAT, right? Well, when we choose it, all I am saying is that we accept all of it — the facts of the matter, separate from all emotional responses, which can actually get in the way of our decision-making processes. Instead of indulging in negative emotion, we can attach a “well this is interesting” approach to it. Doing this allows us to deal with the fact that there is a virus, there is online learning in the fall, there are best practices to keep ourselves healthy and safe, and there is an adjustment to the new way of life right now.

Of course, I recognize the concern with how things are, but what service is it to ourselves if we get angry at a teacher for not wanting to go back to a high-risk environment? What service does it provide us to get mad at the high school classmate who thinks the world is collapsing or the other classmate who thinks corona is a hoax? Choosing to get angry is not going to change the virus, people’s minds, or any hoax that may or may not be out there. Take your power back by choosing corona and all that it entails.

Visit Happy Whole You on F Street to boost your immune system and relax the stressed mind. Don’t forget that in choosing anything, it will always be better handled when choosing from a healthy, well-taken-care-of mind and body. 

Opinions expressed in this column are those of Anna Marie Frank.

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