Pat Benson: Mindfulness in A Crisis

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Like so many of you, my anxiety has been off the charts the past few weeks. Some days I've made myself turn off the news and twitter so my mind could get a break from the constant barrage of bad news.

Thank God I have my dad during times of crisis. Not just because he is my best friend, but because of his unrelenting optimism. I call him the "Zen Master" like Phil Jackson. I think because of his history as a long-distance runner, he has an uncanny ability to control his mind.

It's not always easy, and it takes practice like everything else in life.

In fact, a lot of times, you have to play mental games to get through things. I want to share some of the techniques he has taught me, plus some tricks of the trade from others I've learned along the way:

1. Think Positive - Positive thinking is the only way to go through this life. It's easy to live in a  worst-case scenario mindset, but visualizing a good situation makes you feel better and makes it more likely to happen.

2. Live In the moment - Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a present. We cannot control what happens in the future, but we can be appreciative of right here, right now. Remember that "life by the inch is a synch, life by the yard is hard."

3. Count the time you have completed, not how much you have remaining - We have months to go before we get through this, but we're going to think about how much time we've already got down. 1-2 weeks down already, boom. Think about where we were last week? We are way ahead of that time now. 

 

4. Draw graphs/charts - One time, I was bored in a college class, and I sent my dad a picture of these charts/graphs I drew to break down the time remaining. Although we never discussed it, my dad showed me where he had been doing the same thing at work. If you ever see me in a boring meeting, I'm drawing pie charts and other graphs to help me visualize how much time I've completed.

5. Remind yourself of the facts - Don't create conspiracy theories about yourself in your mind. Remind yourself of the facts, not doomsday scenarios.

6. Only focus on what you can control - We don't have control over much in life. We can wash our hands, practice social distancing, and manage our thoughts. Other than that, we can't control much in this crazy world. We can't focus on things we have no control over.

7. Make others smile - Everybody is struggling right now. Perform a random act of kindness to brighten someone else's day. You don't know how much that will help them.

8. Listen to music - Listening to music is therapeutic. There are mental and physical benefits from listening to music you enjoy.

9. Talk to someone - I don't have a therapist (yet), so I often spill my guts out to my parents or girlfriend. I let them know what's been bothering me and what I'm afraid of. Usually, I hear how irrational I'm being in the middle of my diatribe. 

10. Meditate - Close your eyes and take slow, soft breaths. Even better, get on YouTube or download the meditation apps. Again, there are health benefits to meditation. 

I'm not a doctor, these are just techniques I've learned that help me. If you are seriously struggling with mental health, you need to reach out to a medical professional who can help you a lot more than I ever could.

This pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better. But we're going to get through this together. Until then, we can't let our minds run wild. Let's take this seriously, and stay home so we can help #FlattenTheCurve. 

 

Tweet him @Pat_Benson_Jr

 


A Letter From FC Chattanooga Head Coach Peter Fuller

Bittersweet Ending for Surging Lee Baseball Team

Dan Fleser: Remembering Lady Vols Elite Games


Hello CFC Family! This is a difficult time for all of us. Our jobs, daily lives, and club have all been put on hold. Like many of you, we want nothing more than to be back at Fort Finley ... (click for more)

"It's a bittersweet ending for us all. We were all really excited about how the team was playing at the time the season was cancelled. I felt we were trending upward with our recent play and ... (click for more)

KNOXVILLE – Covering Tennessee women’s basketball for 31 years afforded me an appreciation for the full scope of the NCAA tournament. I covered six of the Lady Vols eight national championship ... (click for more)




Sports

A Letter From FC Chattanooga Head Coach Peter Fuller

Hello CFC Family! This is a difficult time for all of us. Our jobs, daily lives, and club have all been put on hold. Like many of you, we want nothing more than to be back at Fort Finley doing what we love most with our friends and family. At Chattanooga FC, our mission has always been to build community through the world's game. If one thing has been made evident during ... (click for more)

Bittersweet Ending for Surging Lee Baseball Team

"It's a bittersweet ending for us all. We were all really excited about how the team was playing at the time the season was cancelled. I felt we were trending upward with our recent play and we had seemed to figure some things out with line-ups and the rotation. We were getting healthier as a team and getting more key pieces back. It's tough, especially for those that played their ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Georgia Coronavirus Deaths Now At 83, 2,683 Cases

Georgia state health officials said Sunday evening that 83 people in the state have died of the coronavirus. That total is up from 80 just this morning. The cases have climbed to 2,683, up 32 from this morning's report. It was at 800 on Monday. Officials said 678 have been hospitalized, which is 25 percent of the total number of cases. Whitfield County has eight cases. ... (click for more)

Tennessee Now Has 1,537 Cases Of Coronavirus, Claims 7 Lives

Tennessee conoravirus cases are now at 1,537, 164 higher than reported Saturday, said state Health Department officials. The death total has also climbed, claiming a total of seven people who have died from the virus in the state. There are 133 people hospitalized in the state from coronavirus. Hamilton County now has 37 cases, including one death. Metro Nashville Public Health ... (click for more)

Opinion

Focus On Treating COVID-19, Not The Blame

Our novice senator needs a lesson in first responder process. The house is on fire and she has run off to find who brought the matches. There will be plenty of time to do this hunt of witches. Now is the time to focus on what the whole of Tennessee needs from the good senator. That being hospitals, care facilities and health departments having the tools and supplies they need ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: More Suicides Than Virus

In a week where six Tennesseans died of the coronavirus, it is disheartening indeed to learn more people in our state died of suicide last week. While the actual number of those who took their lives across the state isn’t yet known, the fact that nine in Knoxville died by their own hand within a 48-hour period last week is frightening. What is worst is the prediction the coronavirus ... (click for more)