11 Mar A tale of two viruses – the virus of mind
At the end of the last blog I wanted to create a cliffhanger a bit like the end of a Netflix series that you’ve become addicted to! Addiction is not a good behaviour by the way, but let’s continue with the tale of two viruses.
The flight that was booked to bring you back home has been cancelled – what do you do?
You stay positive and travel to the airport.
Throwing you off course
At the airport departures entrance the environment doesn’t look quite as you remember it and you follow the new one-way directional signs. All of a sudden you realise you’ve missed the check in desk and have arrived at airport security.
You have had no chance to ask anyone about rearranging your flight home and at this point is will be difficult to turn back. Do you feel nervous? Do you have a rapid heart rate, headache, shallow breathing or has confusion set in? If it has, these are the symptoms of the second virus.
Within ten minutes you’ve passed through security and have passed through the duty-free area. You buy a hot drink to calm your mood and settle down to wait for your flight. You have no travelling companion to talk to and no-one to run through what to do before you take action and there is only 40 minutes until you need to board.
You call the airline. A lovely lady on the other end of the line is more than willing to help and sorts out new flight details to get you home in no time. You’re good to go. Wow, how easy was that? How do you feel now? Relieved? Excited again? Still a little nervous?
Embark on an amazing adventure
The flight is smooth and you arrive at the destination effortless and on time – you have avoided the second virus. Phew. Your taxi is waiting at the airport and although the chauffeur drives a little crazily (that’s the norm here) you arrive safely, check into the hotel, unpack and set off to find a bistro for a tasty lunch.
You enjoy the most amazing adventures during your first two days. The destination is enchanting and unusually quiet for such an alluring region. Could that be because the people who didn’t get infected by the first virus got infected by the second and stayed away? Anyway, you have the place to yourself, your own private viewing. Awesome.
“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.” Michael Jordan
On day three you have an excursion to visit the top of a volcano planned – it’s the highlight of your trip. You are waiting for a bus near a local attraction (that you visited on the first day) and notice that the gates are still locked even though it’s 10am and a small queue is lingering.
You see a man approach the group and, after a couple of minutes, they start to disperse, looking perplexed and shaking their heads. It turns out that the attraction is now closed for the foreseeable future because of the first virus, even though it’s only in the north of the land. Seemingly, the second more powerful virus is taking affect in the entire country and the government has issued the closure of all attractions.
Your bus arrives and driver announces there’s no charge. Excellent you silently think! You board with fellow tourists, thankful to be on an exciting adventure and being taken there for free. Just as the bus chugs off, a ‘breaking news’ notification vibrates your mobile. The country that you are in has just announced that it’s putting 16 million people in lockdown to prevent the spread of the flu virus. Eek!
This will immediately increase the fallout of the second virus – do you know what I’m referring to yet?
You arrive at your destination and soon realise that the bus journey was free because the volcano you had so desperately been looking forward to climbing was now closed. You take a few photos and feel grateful that you were at least able to see the epic sight with your own eyes.
Later that evening back at the hotel, you receive a text message from the travel company to say that your flight home has been cancelled. Does your stomach tighten? The country is in a state of lockdown and your flight has been cancelled. Will the second virus now take hold of you? Will you hand over your power?
Here’s what I did …
I had a brief conversation with my inner voice about whether I would get home. If I didn’t manage to get home, what would the consequences be?
And what would my back up plan have to be if I had to stay?
From all my training and knowledge about the mind and behaviour, I knew that what you focus on usually becomes the outcome. So, I chose to focus on telling myself that I was not going to catch the flu virus or the second virus. I turned my thoughts to focus on the fact that I would get home as originally planned. There would be no other outcome in my mind. I was in control.
The slight wave of anxiety that tugged at me when I read the text had now disappeared because I was focused on my outcome. My mindset was positive and I was going to achieve my goal. I called the airline and another lovely lady rescheduled my flight. Actually, it was a far better flight, so everything was good. Phew, I’d escaped the clutches of the second virus yet again.
“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.” William James.
A true story
The events described are true. This experience happened to me in March 2020, in Pompei the ancient Italian city near Naples.
I had the most wonderful time exploring a city that was buried by volcanic ash 2,000 years ago and I would have not missed it for the world. Would you have done the same if you were in my shoes?
I consider myself to be a fit and healthy (and young in mind ☺) person. I do not consider myself at risk or in a vulnerable group.
During the lead up to, and throughout, my holiday of a lifetime, despite the obstacles that kept trying to derail me, I successfully resisted the second virus.
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” Willie Nelson
The virus of the mind
You may have guessed by now that the second virus I’ve been referring to is one that affects the mind. Its symptoms are fear, panic, anxiety and irrational actions. If not treated, the initial symptoms can worsen and develop into depression, phobias, bad habits and behaviours, and hopelessness will set in.
You choose your own thoughts and therefore you choose your feelings, your actions and your outcomes. When I was in Pompei (and prior to my trip) I chose to protect myself against the second virus of negativity and scaremongering.
By no means do I want to pooh-pooh the devastation Covid-19 has caused across the globe (and will no doubt continue to do so as I write this blog). It’s been overwhelming, and the damage caused will be felt for many years to come. You will have your own opinion of the pandemic based on your experience, but once Covid-19 has been eradicated, is under control or a cure has been found, the second virus from the story will still remain very real. It affects people every single day and always has done.
What I did want to do by sharing my story was to be clear on how shattering a virus of the mind can be. This virus has been around since humans were first able to make conscious decisions and it will continue to plague us. The only cure to this is you and the decisions you make.
“Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.” Roy T. Bennett
Choose the life you want to lead
The story illustrates how susceptible the mind can be, but it equally demonstrates how powerful the mind can be if it is used for positive effect.
Let me ask you this … if you feel panic, anxiety, anger, sadness or any other emotions that are not positive, how is this negativity serving you and the people around you? Is it serving you well? The answer should be no. If it isn’t no, then you have let negativity attack your mind and hopelessness has taken up residence. The good news is that now you are aware of this you are in a place where you can change your mindset for the better.
I challenge you to make a concerted effort to find your energy, to obtain your fuel by spreading positivity and infecting people with helpful and upbeat thoughts and actions.
Share your thoughts on this story and how you have taken positivity out of the events of 2020 by connecting on social media.
Please email me in confidence to ask any questions and share your thoughts with me on social if you are struggling or if you know someone – a friend, son, daughter, or person in your care – who is having trouble coming to terms with anxiety, depression or any form of unhelpful behaviour.
All that remains is for me to say, is to spread happiness, peace and joy this week to disempower negativity.