Are you facing a tide of up and down feelings at the moment? You’re not alone. Life coach Mel Robbins has a simple coping mechanism to help weather the storm.
World events are moving at a lightning pace right now, which makes that queasy feeling of being out of control a whole lot worse.
When faced with a barrage of problems, conventional wisdom would suggest that you focus on how you react, rather than the problem itself.
After all, you can’t avoid a global financial crisis, anymore than you can find a cure for coronavirus itself. What you can control is your response to this tsunami of big, complex and downright scary issues.
But this becomes harder to do when the problems in your life begin to snowball. At the moment, these may be playing out on multiple levels – from the personal (looming debt, a family member with an autoimmune condition) to the political (homeless people with nowhere to isolate, a lack of PPE protective kit among NHS staffers).
All of which leads to a building sense of hopelessness and disorientation. Six in 10 of us have felt anxiety about coronavirus according to a recent poll, and it’s not uncommon to experience the drip-drip effect of classic symptoms such as a racing heart rate, breathlessness or difficulty sleeping.
There are, however, ways to anchor yourself amid the storm, and US-based life coach Mel Robbins has one powerful solution to put forward.
For those who aren’t familiar with her, Robbins is the author of The 5 Second Rule, a best-selling book that helps people get ahead in life by achieving goals without sabotaging themselves en-route (something that we nearly all do, just as a matter of habit).
More recently, she’s been offering up tips on how to cope with the coronavirus crisis on her Instagram page, including daily live broadcasts, all handled with trademark empathy and insight.
For regaining a sense of control in these turbulent times, Robbins recently shared a simple visualisation exercise that centres around the analogy of a plane.
“I want you to consider that right now we’re on an airplane,” Robbins told her audience in a short video clip posted to Instagram this week. “There’s severe turbulence and it’s very discombobulating because of course, what you want to know is, when are we going to be through it? When is it going to end?”
The thing that calms people down in this scenario is the flight team of air stewards and pilots, who are able to calmly look ahead at the situation, and reassure their passengers.
“If you can see a calm steward and a calm pilot, and if you can see them previewing what you can expect in a calm, proactive, positive way, you start to internalise, ‘Oh this is momentary. And we’re going to get through this,’” Robbins explained.
The trick is, then, that we all take on this “calm, caring, measured and positive” attitude that Robbins described, to help one another navigate through the crisis.
In other words, we should all make an effort to tap our inner calming pilots.
We may not have all the answers; we may not even have any. But we need to make room for those up and down emotions that will arise as we go through turbulence, and react in a consistent, low-key way – just as a pilot might while negotiating their way around a storm cloud.
Because, as Robbins said, “It may feel like things are crashing [but] we’re not going to crash. We’re going to land in Chicago as planned.”
Reassuring words indeed. See the video in full right here.