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06.04.2020 Feature Article

Hope To Cope

Hope To Cope
LISTEN APR 6, 2020

“Faced with the inevitable, you can do two things. You can sit in the dark room, hearkening to the shutter of snare drums or you can adopt a good-natured posture and go about your business. The latter seems better. There is enough gloom in the world, without you shedding more.” –excerpt from Confessions of a Knife by Surgeon Richard Selzer.

We are in a time like no other. These are indeed not ordinary times with a pandemic hovering over our heads. Separated, disassociated and disengaged from our fellow humans all in the name of lockdowns in several parts of the world. As social beings, these times have come as a big blow to us. Perhaps because we began this year with a lot to look forward to. COVID-19 was certainly not written as a new year resolution in anyone’s diary yet here we are, wallowing in despair and uncertainty. We are faced with the disturbing and inevitable reality of a virus spread. The statistics are even scarier.

This is certainly not the time for blame games and conspiracy theories. It is a time for us to have a united front. It is a time for solidarity and togetherness towards the fight against a common enemy, Corona Virus. The virus knows no boundaries, it affects people of all colour, race and religion. It is in this era that we need to learn to put aside our prejudice and differences to make human life our central point of focus.

We have seen these past few months the strength of the human willpower and way power. On different continents, plans have been put in place to curb this menace of a virus. We are coming at it with every fiber within us. We are attacking it with scientific research and feeding the populace with news items about the situation on the ground. All these have shown commitments towards winning this fight. The virus might infect our mortal bodies but definitely not our human spirit. Those at the frontiers are determined to find solutions to this global pandemic. I believe the World Health Organization, scientists, governments, educationalists, the media, ministers and all citizens are doing their very best to contain the spread of the virus.

What I can do is to add my voice about the psychology of hope in a time like this. We can only hope to cope. Hope transcends mere optimism. Hope is combining our willpower and way power to attain or achieve a goal. It is not without clear definite plans. Hope is that optimistic flame that refuses to be quenched and reflects nothing is impossible.

Needless to say, true hope has no room for delusion. We cannot deny what is happening around us. What we cannot afford to do is to let our lives come to a standstill because of a virus. It is disheartening that souls have been lost to this disease but, we surge on. We live to fight each and every waking moments of our lives hanging unto the thread of hope that all will be well.

It is about time we engage in mental activism that involves seeking accurate information, asking relevant questions and implementing sound strategies. In doing so, we might be caught in between the impossible and a breakthrough. Regardless of what the results may be, our only true way of gaining sanity is to hope to cope.

In the next couple of sentences, we will digest the recipe for hope prepared for all to cope in this season. There is a lot of panic in the air considering the falsity of information being circulated about COVID19. Truth be told, do not believe everything you see on social media especially when you cannot vouch for the source. It is very important that we feed ourselves with the right information from the right source (I suggest you take a free COVID19 course on alison.com to have first-hand information and read trusted news feeds).

Engage your mind by reading and listening to relevant materials. This is the time to cultivate the habit of reading different genres of literature that spark your interest. Read to be informed and read for the pleasure of it. Reading will open your mind to a world of possibilities and that will certainly help you hope to cope with the situation.

When you feel tensed up about the happenings around you, do have a good laugh at yourself sometimes. Humor helps you put things in perspective. This is not to downplay the enormous effect of the virus spread but for us to know that the human race has suffered far worse predicaments than COVID19.

Pray and meditate. For a brief moment, shut off COVID19 which has become a worldwide stressor and recharge your mind and energy. It could be the Lord’s prayer if you are a Christian like myself, it could be a mantra or an inspiring message that keeps your spirit high. Either way, praying and meditating is a haven and a must do in these times. It renews the mind and gives us that inner peace that something greater than ourselves will see all humanity through this undesirable circumstance.

Do exercise the body. Most people are at home doing the usual “adidas” routine (at least I know I am guilty of having an adidas (literally means to eat and sleep) routine during the early days of the lockdown). Have an exercise plan and be determined to stick to it. According to a sports psychologist, “Exercise is a metaphor for life, you set goals, go after them and feel good on the way.” Exercise is an ingredient in the hope to cope agenda. If you can afford to do some press-ups and squats in this season, come what may, COVID19 will not throw you into a too much frenzy. This is a rechanneling of the energy that you would have used in worrying to doing something profitable. We can hope to cope that eventually, COVID19 will be a storm that we will weather together.

Interestingly, COVID19 has been a wake-up call. Now we know better to wash our hands when eating (I remember when people used to say African germs do not kill, lol) and to sanitize often. We know better that we should cook our edibles especially meats properly. We also know better to take our medications seriously. Be health conscious.

We are also reminded time without number the need to observe social distancing. However, this does not call for emotional distancing. We are emotional beings as we are social beings. COVID19 does not call for breaking ties with the people we care deeply about. Let us find ways of connecting-it could be a text, it could be a call, it could be a hello to that neighbor through your window. When COVID19 is over, all we have left is ourselves so let’s not create an emotional chaos. In finding alternative ways to connect amidst this social distancing hullabaloo, we remind ourselves that we have each other. This new-found way of expressing our love without necessarily having physical contact will prove in the end that love prevails. Love for humanity and hope will help us cope.

Let us hope to cope with COVID19 by building up our mind (reading, researching and listening), body (exercising and healthy living) and spirit (praying and meditating).

Hope keeps us going when we want to quit and makes us attain seemingly impossible victories. Hope is vital for survival now more than ever. Even though the situation looks bleak at the moment, we have enough willpower and way power to overcome.

Take charge of your mind, body and spirit as we hope to cope with COVID19 and encourage others to do same. Be healthy and stay safe for this storm shall pass away.

I would love to know your hope to cope routine in the comment section below.

Yours truly,
Nhyira Frema

Benedicta Frema Boamah
Benedicta Frema Boamah, © 2020

The author has 1 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: BenedictaFremaBoamah

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