Gena Gilcrease
3 min readMay 1, 2020



By Gena Gilcrease

It’s a scary time.

Correction: it can be a scary time, if you dwell on the negative aspects. On the worst-case scenario.

Along with the Covid-19 epidemic, there also comes the epidemic of fear, which is highly contagious and can spread as rapidly.

We owe it to ourselves, to our families and friends, to our world to stay calm and positive during this challenging condition.

I’m not talking unicorns and fairy dust. Staying calm is a social and evolutionary advantage, a necessity for our health and well-being.

Fear weakens your immune system; calm strengthens your immune system.

The Chinese character for crisis is said to be formed from two characters meaning danger and opportunity. Some writers dispute the interpretation of opportunity, that it means more of a juncture, a critical turning point.

I’ll still take that — a turning point.

In our human story, this crisis moves us to a turning point. From overly busy to having to stay at home, from reckless spending to thrift, from taking health and home for granted, to being grateful and mindful.

Right now, we cannot afford the luxury of pessimism. No longer an option.

Kermit: Things will get better.

Evil Kermit: No, they’re getting worse.

Kermit: I’m not listening to you.

Evil Kermit: …okay.

So, what can we do to stay calm and turn away from the dark to the light?

Here’s a menu of 7 actions you can do:

1. Turn off the news. Now.

Or if you must watch, set short time limits.

While you watch, send gratitude to the newscasters. Be grateful for all the health care workers, for the police, firemen. For the retail workers who face danger. Grateful for everyone keeping everything going despite threats.

2. Breathe!

Sure, you’re breathing enough to exist.

Calmness comes from deep breathing, a technique that is immediately effective.

Do it now. Take a deep breath in, to the count of 6, hold for 2 counts, then exhale to the count of 6, Do that 10 times and your life will greatly improve.

You might add some yoga or meditation.

3. Go outside, get some fresh air, sunshine, and movement.

Brings in some vitamin D and more oxygen.

Even just walking around your neighborhood is a benefit. See your environment in a new way. Look at some clouds and make cloud pictures. Examine a leaf. Smell a flower.


Sounds simplistic but try it.

Everything feels and seems better when you are smiling.

Combine it with the two above — deep breathing and going outside — for a double good.

5. What specifically are your worries? What can you control? What is out of your control? What are your options?

6. Call someone to see how he or she is doing. Another win-win. Good for them to know love and care, and good for you, too.

7. Think of all the things that are going well. You probably have a place to live, enough food, internet, a phone, TV, a microwave, stove and refrigerator, probably a washer and dryer. What wealth!

There you go. When you feel the pandemic of fear start to infect you, try any or all of these. I promise you’ll feel better. Stay safe, stay sane.



Gena Gilcrease

Love writing in many forms. Essay writer since winning the Knights of Columbus contest on Texas History at 14. Humor writing. Educational training films. Poetry