We need an anchor in our lives in the face of all the uncertainty and chaos in the third wave of pandemic

As the reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 reached record high this week in Hong Kong, there is still no sign of the pandemic being in control. Many people in the workforce are facing another wave of work from home. A lot of business and social activities are cancelled in the coming few weeks. The upgrade of dining restrictions also caused a lot of disturbance in people’s routine. Collective panic is developing in the city since many of us are facing enormous uncertainty and feeling tremendous insecurity inside. It is of paramount importance for us to know how to cope with this unpredictable circumstance with composure.

We may be busy with upkeeping our access to the most updated news and measures in the face of this pandemic daily. Our external focus of all these daily happenings may cause us to feel anxious and confused persistently. Our peace of mind disappears and we become out of focus. In the face of these radical uncertainties, we need to find our anchor in our life to help us stay focus and reclaim tranquility. In fact, our anchor is not something we need to acquire externally. It is coming from within ourselves.

To reclaim the tranquility within ourselves, we need to find a shelter for rest and recharge our energy. Instead of focusing externally, we need to turn our focus inward to get in touch with our inner feelings and sensations. Different brain regions are activated when we pay out attention outward or inward. When we are attending to external stimulus, such as paying attention to work, our prefrontal cortex is activated. When we turn our attention inward to notice our bodily sensations or inner feelings, our insula and posterior cingulate cortex are activated.

When we feel anxious and confused, we may be preoccupied with our worries and anxious predictions of our future. This state of mind usually involves the prefrontal cortex. If we bring our awareness to our internal world, we activated the insula and the posterior cingulate cortex. In this way, we can get in touch with our internal world. With this interoceptive awareness, we can be more detached with our ruminations. When we get in touch with our inner feelings and sensations, these feelings and sensations may gradually subside. As a result, we can reclaim our calmness and tranquility.

Here are some practical strategies for us to find our anchor:

First, we may practice mindfulness exercises daily to bring our attention and awareness inward. There are both formal and informal mindfulness practice. Sitting meditation, body scan, mindful walking are some of the formal mindfulness exercises. We may also practice mindfulness informally, such as bringing our awareness to the sensations of brushing our teeth.

Second, we may find our anchor in life through a routine. For those who work from home, living according to a routine may help us to find our anchor because we know our direction in life. No matter what happens in our lives, we follow our routine. This helps us feel less unsettled and confused as we know what we are going to do in the moment.

Third, when we are in our shelter during quarantine or work from home, we may engage in self-reflection regularly. It is beneficial if we can turn our focus inward and reflect through journaling. In this process, we may have more clarity on our personal values and life direction. This is the anchor from within ourselves.

Last but not least, we may try to engage more in pleasurable and enjoyable activities, such as painting or cooking. Through these activities, we turn our focus inward to our present moment experiences in these activities. This is a good way to recharge our energy and help us to reclaim our calmness and tranquility.

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