Practicing Mindfulness During a Global Pandemic Mindfulness and compassion win the day when things go viral

It can be hard to focus on the good in chaotic times, but plenty of good things come from bad times. We’re testing our global infrastructure and being reminded of what we’re good at. We all have challenges to work through in 2020, but it’s a forward-looking number associated with perfect vision. You’re not working on any virus cure, but implementing a few mindful practices keeps you involved in your community.

Whether it’s Godzilla, hurricanes, or a deadly illness, you can survive – even thrive – through anything. It starts with the right mindset. Two simple practices, mindfulness and compassion, are recommended by psychologists to cope with stress and fear. They also help mitigate the negative effects of past traumas. Even better, staying cool, calm, and collected during a crisis is what makes people see you as a leader.

Here’s how it works, using another type of viral spread – memes.

Keep Calm and Carry On

You’re likely familiar with the meme “Keep Calm and ___.” While the meme itself is old school these days, its origins are even older. The catchphrase “Keep Calm and Carry On” was printed on World War II-era British public safety posters. They were meant to remind civilians to continue with their daily lives, despite everything going on around them.

It was the third of three motivational posters with phrases that the government printed by the millions that are suddenly relevant again:

“Freedom Is in Peril Defend It With All Your Might”

Your Courage Your Cheerfulness Your Resolution Will Bring Us to Victory”

“Keep Calm and Carry On”

The meme exploded after a couple found one, didn’t know the origins, and hung it in their window show. Throughout the 2000s, parodies of the phrase became one of the first viral sensations of the modern internet. “Keep Calm and ___” evolves with every major global issue. It reached peak relevancy in the early 2010s, but recent events have spiked its usage.

While the novel coronavirus puts everyone on edge, it’s important to remain calm. You need to do it to show leadership for your kids, your neighbors, and the global community. Of course, it’s easier said than done. This pandemic is likely to cause anxiety. Unemployment rates are reaching historic spikes, and politicians are rushing to push financial relief where it’s needed most.

You can be facing any number of unknowns right now, no matter who you are or what financial position you’re in. The head of the United Nations calls it humanity’s greatest test since WWII. There’s another meme for this.

This Is Fine Dog

Comic book artist KC Green created a viral sensation with a six-panel comic showing a dog keeping calm and carrying on while his house burns around him. He continued reassuring himself that “This is fine. I’m okay with the events that are unfolding currently. That’s okay, things are going to be okay.” before he melts in the fire. While humorous (and a bit morbid), the meme does show the misconception of the concept of mindfulness.

A truly mindful person doesn’t ignore the pain or the problems while sitting there. Mindful people accept the situation and live in the moment, resolving things as they happen. Mindfulness involves staying calm while still confronting and resolving the issue. There are things you can do in the present moment, even though you’re not personally curing the coronavirus.

Ask others around you how they’re doing. Find ways to communicate with your neighbors and check up on any seniors around you. If you have enough food, toilet paper, or cleaning supplies, offer to help others. It’s tempting to stockpile goods, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t forget to share your advantages with others. You never know whose world is burning down around them right now.

The best thing you can do is stay mindful of your connections.


Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. You can find his work in Cracked, High Times, HuffPost, Lifewire, Forbes, Fast Company, and dozens of other places, although much of it is no longer under his name. Dr. Penny loves annoying fake media.

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