Coping Through Purpose and Meaning During The COVID-19 Pandemic (And Other Crises)

It feels like so much is out of our control at this moment in our history. All of us on this earth have lost something, or someone to the coronavirus. If we are lucky enough to have not lost too much, at the very least we are mourning the loss of the liberties and freedoms that we used to enjoy.

For people who have not lost a loved one, or their income, and who are living in geographic areas where there are little to no restrictions in their daily lives, they even so are needing to adjust. Minimally the most comfortable of us are coping with their own loss of emotional security, due to anticipatory loss.

We are all experiencing, then, instability in our lives in one way or another. This sense of unease and loss for many of us can lead to anxiety and depression.

How do we ensure that we thrive as best we can during this challenging time, and not fall prey to anxiety and depression? We focus on putting our attention to the things that we can control in our lives. We can control, for example, how we choose to live our day. Even while living with restrictions we still have so much choice!

I recommend you read, or re-read, one of my favorite books, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. Frankl is a psychiatrist who wrote his memoir about surviving the Nazi concentration camps. He relays the particularly important message that when we find purpose and meaning, especially when in suffering, we also find the strength to survive. Frankl wrote, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”.

We all have choice. Choice in how we live our day, on what we focus our attention, in how we behave towards ourselves and towards others, and in how to make this time in our history count.

For effective suggestions of choices that will give you purpose and meaning, thereby helping ward off anxiety and depression and helping you thrive during this challenging time, check out a recent article that I wrote:

Be well. Be healthy. May you find purpose and meaning.