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How do we stay faithful in particularly scary times? In times when thousands of people are out of work, struggling to feed their families and people are losing loved ones. This is an incredibly serious & uncertain time, and for that reason, it is now more than ever that we need to strengthen our faith.

People often relate faith to religion but that’s not really necessary. You can have faith in the universe, faith in humanity, or faith in yourself. As long as you’re having faith in something greater than your fear.

Here are some simple ways to keep the faith:

1. Count your blessings.

Take 10 minutes every morning to journal out 10 things you’re thankful for and why. I know, 10 things may seem like a lot, but when we’re going through a difficult period we need to make time for a thorough gratitude practice. No matter how out of control your world may seem, no matter how many bad things are happening – as soon as you refocus your energy onto the good things in your life and truly feel the gratitude for those things, everything will change.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “like attracts like”. This is still applicable during difficult times. The more you pay attention to what’s going right, the more good things will show up in your life. Not only is this universal energy at work, but by counting your blessings you are also reminding yourself that good things can happen. In doing so, you’re boosting your faith that good things will continue to come your way.

2. Remove any buffers from your life.

During difficult times, it’s easy to turn to distractions or “buffers” to take our minds off things. This can be television, sex, food, drugs or alcohol. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to remove all of these things from your life. They’re only an issue if you’re using them to avoid negative feelings. Are you binging on junk food because you’re scared of losing your job? Or are you getting high all day, so you don’t think about how scared you are?

This is completely normal behavior, and all of your fears are relevant. But the only reason these fears are still lingering is because you won’t acknowledge them. As soon as you acknowledge your fear and confront it head on, you will no longer look for unhealthy ways to cope. If you think you’ve been buffering with any of the above, take one day without the activity or substance, and work through your emotions.

What are you scared of? Is this something you can control? If not, then you must choose to let it go and have faith. Anytime you feel the fear bubbling up, repeat the affirmation, “I choose faith instead.”

Next, decide what you need to change moving forward. Do you want to read more? Drink more water? As soon as you make this mental shift and decide to acknowledge your fears, the habit adjustments will come naturally. Listen to what your body and mind truly need and do your best to provide.

2. Make your mental health practices a priority.

Whether you like to meditate, journal, exercise, pray or repeat affirmations – make these practices a vital part of your day. It’s during these difficult times that our spiritual or mental practices become even more important. You need to nurture your mind everyday, not just in the times when you’re on the verge of a breakdown.

Decide in advance when you’re going to take time for yourself. Do you want to get everything done first thing in the morning? Do you want to take a break mid-day to meditate? Everyone’s different so build these activities into your schedule however you see fit. An upside to this difficult period is that you have more freedom with how you structure your time.

3. Protect your faith.

You will hear bad news from every direction. You will hear it from friends, family, social media, the news… people are scared and for good reason. This is often done unknowingly, but the fears of others has the ability to spread like wildfire. You need to protect your faith in whatever way you can.

Yes, you want to stay informed, be respectful and do your part, but you can still do that without becoming fear & anxiety ridden. If you know that reading a specific story is going to cause you anxiety & overwhelm, it’s okay not to read it. It doesn’t mean you don’t care and it doesn’t mean you’re in denial. It just means that you are taking necessary precautions to protect your mental state during this very uncertain time.

Some people are just trying to survive through this quarantine, and that’s okay. But if you’re able, I urge you to use this time to strengthen your faith. The more faithful you are, the stronger you will become and the easier it will be to get through this. You will find more peace and more reasons to smile throughout the day. And I think we could all use that right now.