Everyone talks about COVID-19 in negative terms, and everyone has a personal story to tell about how it affected their lives, the newspapers are full of everyday stories of people loosing jobs, businesses, income, homes, people dying or recovering from the COVID-19, and looking with disbelief how people do mass gatherings, refuse to quarantine or wear a mask.

All these facts made us look at the future in a different way, we talk about the future being gone, people call it “uncertain times”, “challenging times”, “unprecedent times”, “one of the worst pandemic in human history”, “chaotic 2020”, “the worst year ever”, etc. We point out our lack of human foresight, community leadership, or government response. These are all common trends of how people perceive the current situation, how they are adapting to learn and work “remotely”, or how everyone is only focused in finding ways to go back to “normal.”

One of the contributions of COVID-19 was an expanded vocabulary, it created new words and terms such as essential and non-essential workers, social distancing, or flatten the curb; it also substituted existing terms with new ones such as, pandemic vs. epidemic, quarantine vs. isolation, respirator vs. ventilator, contagious vs. infectious; we even personified the virus as the rona.

But all the negative effects of of COVID-19 mentioned above, are a simple product of our negative thoughts and poorly-managed negative emotions, which have a devastating effect in our health. Negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness develop chronic stress, disrupting the body’s hormone balance, decrease the brain chemicals required for happiness, and damage our immune system.

Negative thoughts affect us in very damaging ways. Various scientific studies had found that negative events are linked to the accelerate rise of mental health problems such anxiety or depression.

In the other hand, the pandemic made us feel inclusive, and provided a collective sense of equality. We progressed from a medical subject, to a social, moral, ethic, and political issue, but few people talked about human interconnections and collective responsibilities. What would happen if we think of COVID-19 in terms of a positive human experience, we offer a mindful perspective, and we become thankful for it? That can be accomplished using meditation as a tool to embrace it and move on.

Meditation is an ancient practice originated in India several thousand years ago, and it is a great tool to overcome anxiety, panic, stress, uncertainty, and all those negative states of mind that we acquired from COVID-19. Through a consistent practice of meditation, we remain calm, centered and grounded, and most important, it keeps us from spiraling into full-blown state of anxiety and panic.

Through meditation, we pay attention, purposefully and non-judgmentally, to our experience in the present moment. We can have a formal practice of meditation, or simply just sit down, close your eyes, and focus on feeling your breath go in and out. Meditation helps us balance our own emotions so we can act more compassionate, and find mental stability during times of crisis.

I am a strong believer that we are part of a continuing learning environment, and the best life lessons are given during difficult times, and we earn by overcoming obstacles and challenges. We are students in this gigantic classroom called universe, where we make dreams come true, some people say by miracles, but I say by working hard, grabbing opportunities, and stay focus on personal goals.

Definitely COVID-19 as life, are lessons that we must embrace, appreciate, and accept. Life is perfectly imperfect, and it is this imperfection that makes it rich in unique experiences. We are constantly learning throughout these faults, which makes us stronger and hopefully, happy and appreciative of everything around us. Certainly this pandemic made us more human and brought closeness to individuals and communities; it made us rethink our past and create a new better “normal.”

So why not use meditation to break this cycle of negative emotions to better our health? So why not be thankful to COVID-19 for all lessons learned and all the changes we made in our lives?

Thank you COVID-19, you forced us to look into a different direction, helped us rethink our reality, and reshaped our future.

Note: If you are new to meditation, this is a beginner’s guide with few simple steps you can follow to start your practice.