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Fear, Loneliness, Gratitude

by Joanne Malkani, Professor of Psychology

So many thoughts and emotions flood my mind right now as I write this. I think I am having a normative human experience including but not limited to anxiety, sadness, loneliness, fear, and gratitude. I have watched more television in the past month than I have all year. I have become familiar with Tiger King (I don’t even know what to say!) as well as movies I haven’t had a chance to watch in the past including Brittany Runs a Marathon (I cried at the end!). I am trying to do yoga on a daily basis as a way to calm my anxiety and feel grounded. I am speechless of how quickly life has changed.

I feel I spent so much time on making plans for the upcoming months and this whole experience has taught me that we must focus on the present and focus on gratitude. This is such a scary situation, but when the anxiety and fear bubble up, I try to focus on gratitude.

I am most grateful that my loved ones are healthy and safe. My heart breaks for families that are separated and have been significantly impacted by the current situation. I feel so grateful to be employed. My heart breaks for families and businesses that have to deal with financial stress on top of everything else going on right now. I feel grateful for our medical community and their bravery and courage. I tear up as I write that because I can’t imagine what they go through on a daily basis. I feel grateful for the life I have and all the experiences. At first when this happened, upcoming plans had to be cancelled which led me to focus on what I was missing. I was focused on what I wasn’t going to experience. As time has progressed my mindset has certainly shifted and instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I am forever grateful for what I do have and for what I have experienced. Most especially I feel grateful for all the loving people in my life.

As I continue along on this journey, I imagine that I will continue to experience fluctuation in emotion as I imagine most humans are experiencing right now, and I will try to stay present-focused, practice gratitude, and stay hopeful. Best wishes to all!

--Joanne Malkani

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