Drop of water - oneness philosophies

Staying Resilient and Manifesting New Possibilities in the Time of Pandemic: An Interactive Zoom Workshop

Wednesday 05/13/2020 3:00 PM – 4:15 EDT
This event will be recorded and sent to registrants
Sliding scale fee: $30.00, $40.00, $50.00

To Register

Join author, psychotherapist, and 2xTEDX Speaker, Mel Schwarz to learn about a path to resilience using oneness philosophies.

What could be more essential in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic than learning to cultivate your emotional, psychological and spiritual resilience? Resilience is the bedrock of our ability to navigate these daunting times.

The path to resilience is found in our relationship with our thoughts.  The only thing in life that we can, and should, try to control is our thoughts. In this talk, Mel Schwartz will be sharing his techniques for transcending fear and anxiety through a mastery of thinking. These methods are a major theme of his new book, The Possibility Principle: How Quantum Physics Can Improve the Way You Think, Live and Love. 

This interactive Zoom conference will introduce a new way of looking at self-care, which benefits us not only now through this crisis, but throughout our lives. Mel will be sharing another of his primary principles: how embracing uncertainty opens the doorway to new possibilities. Additionally Mel will be speaking to the concept of oneness, which nurtures us as individuals and as a community. This deeper level of connectivity enhances empathy and compassion.

“The most important relationship you will ever have isn’t with your parents, isn’t with your children, isn’t with your spouse or closest friends. The relationship that will impact you far more than any other is with your thoughts. They are your constant companion.” –The Possibility Principle

Join us and learn how to:

  • Break free from the imprisonment of old, limiting thoughts
  • Overcome anxiety by embracing uncertainty
  • Develop a more nurturing relationship with self
  • Release the beliefs that narrow your life experience
  • Find your inner voice to enable a deeper nurturing of self
  • Utilize the uncertainty principle to summon new possibilities

Mel Schwartz, Westport CT PsychotherapistMel Schwartz is a psychotherapist, marriage counselor, 2xTEDx speaker, and author of The Possibility Principle. He earned his graduate degree from Columbia University.

Mel has integrated key principles from quantum physics into an accessible method for living a fearless and resilient life.

Mel has been a keynote speaker at Yale University, Smilow Wellness Yale New Haven Hospital. and 92Y in NYC. He has written over 100 articles read by more than 4 million people, and his podcast, The Possibility Podcast, has been listened to in over 60 countries. Mel’s TEDx talk, Breaking Free from Anxiety, is nearing 500,000 views, and he has been interviewed extensively on television, radio, and podcasts.

Mel practices in Westport, CT and virtually with people everywhere.

You're not to blame - Mel Schwartz Blog, Westport CT

Don’t Personalize Your Partner’s Issues

They may impact you but they may not be about you

Our close personal relationships often feel like we’re under a microscope, as we examine, react and judge each other’s actions and intentions. Under the distress of the current COVID-19 pandemic these interpersonal tensions may feel even more acute, particularly when we’re in confinement with each other. This tension can boil over causing us to lose balance and a healthy energy in our relationships. Let’s take a look at this damaging tendency and rethink our role in it.

Relationships offer a unique opportunity for our personal growth, though typically not without some disturbances and challenges. Our closest relationships showcase the underlying chronic issues that each person brings into the union, as our personal history and wounds spill over into the relationship.

Our tendency is to blame each other for these disturbances, which usually results in each person feeling invalidated and devalued. When this occurs, we pull back from the sense of oneness that likely brought us together at the start. We then begin to differentiate issues as his problem or her issue. What may have begun as a loving connected partnership begins to dissipate into conflict.

Coming Undone

I’d been working with a couple in the early years of their marriage. Jill had divorced shortly before she met John and had two teenaged children from her prior marriage. She maintained a close, if not amicable, relationship with her former spouse. As our sessions progressed it became evident that Jill’s need for cordiality with her ex-husband and her inability to say no to her children was masking an underlying issue. She actually felt compelled to be well thought of, by both her kids and their father, which caused her to avoid confrontation on any level.  She appeased her ex and avoided appropriate parental guidance for her children from her need to avoid any upset.

This provoked her new husband John, who felt undermined, if not betrayed by her behavior. He experienced Jill as being more sensitive to her ex-husband’s needs than to his own. We came to appreciate that Jill’s need to avoid confrontation and displeasing others had its roots in her childhood. Because she felt unloved by her parents, Jill’s coping mechanism was to try to please them to get any positive attention she could muster. So, Jill not surprisingly acclimated to her role as a people pleaser, which she continued to exhibit later in life. The irony is that she was actually displeasing her current husband so as not to upset her ex and her children.

John came into their marriage with abandonment issues dating back to his mother’s abandonment of him at an early age. He shared that he was particularly sensitivity to issues of rejection since childhood. Feeling unloved by Jill, he critiqued every aspect of her interactions, texts and emails with her former husband and her children. He didn’t feel partnered with her. As a result, Jill felt perpetually examined and criticized by John. Their relationship started to unravel as they blamed each other for its demise.

How am I contributing to our struggle?

When we see each other’s insecurities and challenges as their problem, but don’t see how our past wounds may contribute to the conflict, we are tricked by the illusion of separation. Think, “It’s their fault.” Their issues become our issues as ours become theirs.

The problems may be different, but they are in no way separate. Picture a drop of ink as it drips into a beaker of water. The ink disperses throughout, and you can no longer find its trail. The same thing happens in relationship. Each person’s fears, hopes, challenges and issues become entangled with their partner’s.

In couple’s counseling I often hear, “I have no issues, but my spouse surely does.” How silly. Your partner’s unresolved issues no doubt impact you and your personal challenges. You are both as inextricably connected as two people on a seesaw. Ask yourself, “What are my issues that I should be addressing?

As I continued working with John and Jill I helped them understand how their core wounds and coping mechanisms each contributed to their overall upset. I worked with Jill to develop a stronger self-worth-to find her voice- enabling her to overcome her timidity around parenting. I helped John see that Jill wasn’t abandoning him so much as operating from her own preexisting fear.

Their problems were indeed very personal to them, but it was essential for them not to personalize them.

They each came in to their marriage with their own history of fears, doubts and insecurities. These issues were of course quite personal to each of them. And these matters no doubt impacted both of them. Unresolved personal issues always ripple out and impact those close to us. The goal is to recognize the burdens we both carry and to choose not to think, “They are doing this to me.” As we release this habit of victimization we can reflect on how we might assist each other and as importantly look at how we contribute to the upset. This approach invites mindful relationship, freer from reactivity, blame and anger.

This article was excerpted from Mel’s book The Possibility Principle: How Quantum Physics can Improve the Way You Think, Live and LoveMel offers virtual therapy globally.

The Possibility Podcast With Mel Schwartz Episode 025: Relationship Resilience During Coronavirus Confinement

Even in the best of times, recurring relationship conflicts and frustrating communications can feel daunting. During the coronavirus pandemic confinement, these challenges can feel even more overwhelming. But as always, crisis creates – and often opens – the door to new opportunities.

The habitual default in the battle of right vs. wrong decimates relationships and destroys compassion, empathy and love. There is a way through this impasse, however. Mel shares a breakthrough that came to him in the midst of a couple’s session he was conducting that led him to what he calls The 5% Rule.

This technique allows us to slow down, listen and validate each other. In turn, we focus not on facts or argumentation but on feelings and perspectives. The 5% Rule enables the energy of conflict to subside and the opportunity for meaningful dialogue to ensue.

Be sure to read the companion article to this episode, and please join Mel for ongoing support during the coronavirus pandemic at this special site.

Talk With Mel!

Help others when Mel helps you: Contact Mel and find out how you can be a caller on the show and ask Mel a question. He’ll put the Possibility Principle to work for you, and your conversation will be recorded for use in a future episode of the podcast so other listeners can benefit.

Please Rate and Review

If you enjoy The Possibility Podcast, please take a moment to rate and review the show in iTunes / Apple Podcasts or Podchaser. It only takes a few minutes, and adding your review is as easy as clicking this link.

Your rating and review helps raise the visibility of The Possibility Podcast, especially on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, which is one of the biggest podcasting platforms today. More visibility for the show means more listeners… and that growth means the show reaches — and helps — more people like you.

Thank you!

Subscribe To the Possibility Podcast with Mel Schwartz

Never miss an episode! Subscribe for free in iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, RadioPublic, or Spreaker. Or, search for the show in your favorite podcast app… or add the show manually by copying and pasting this link into the podcast app of your choice.

Two people thinking - relationship resilience during COVID19

Relationship Resilience During Covid-19 Confinement

This is an ideal time to learn breakthrough communication skills

Even in the best of times, dealing with relationship conflict and frustrating communications can feel overwhelming. And we are certainly not in the best of times. With most couples and families now confined under the same roof, discord and tensions can surface far more easily. Our opportunities to take breaks from one another has evaporated. Yes, we can retreat to separate laptops, phones or televisions, but the lack of social diversity may create greater tension.  For many people this may feel like being in a pressure cooker with the heat always on.

Well, if crisis creates opportunity then perhaps this is the time to learn some critically needed communication skills. With nowhere to retreat or hide, opportunity for relationship growth may now be an urgent necessity. Let’s begin.

The Need to Be Right

Why is it so important to be right? Our instinct to defend ourselves and be right literally destroys the fabric of relationship. Think of it this way: If I need to be right then I need to vanquish you and make you wrong. Now how is that going to work out? This win-lose scenario is non-rational and doesn’t work. It assures discord.

In couples counseling I might ask, “Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?” Of course, both people claim they’d choose happiness but within moments the retreat to winning the argument prevails.

We turn our relationship into a debate and no one is listening. This causes affection, love and respect to wither.

Is Anyone Listening?

The need to win an argument assures that no one is actively listening. Our words are like ping-pong balls being whacked back and forth. Nothing thwarts our ability to remain present and truly listen as effectively as hearing the words, “you’re wrong.” Tell someone they’re wrong and you’ve guaranteed your words will fall on deaf ears.

Feeling loved, cared for and validated is nullified by the drive to be right. This need to be right, to win at all costs, is antithetical to enjoying empathic and compassionate relationships. Doesn’t exactly sound like the stuff of friendships, let alone romantic relations. So how can we break through this mindless impasse?

The 5% Rule-Turning Conflict into Collaboration

I can recall early in my career as a therapist, finding myself feeling frustrated in my ability to assist a couple with whom I was working. They were tirelessly mired in a ceaseless argument, venting at each other with neither person listening to the other. I was searching for a way to help them slow down and listen to each other – to get past their gridlock. I reflected for a moment on how I might approach their impasse differently. I’ve learned that when I pause, get out of my own way and set my intention for an insight, it often appears. This was such a moment.

Intuitively, I asked the husband, John, (I’ve changes their names to protect their confidentiality) “Can you try to find just a small percentage of what Barbara is saying that you might agree with? Let’s look arguably for just 5% of what she’s saying that you can acknowledge, and temporarily suspend the 95% you’re sure she’s wrong about.”

I was asking John to go against the grain and act counter-intuitively by neither defending himself nor trying to score a point. I explained to John that he wasn’t pleading guilty or surrendering, the goal was simply to establish a repartee so that they could hear each other. Validating something you’re hearing sets the stage for a vital shift in energy. He finally managed to affirm one of his wife’s complaints and took ownership of a particular action that she found offensive.

As he shared this with Barbara she barely paused, as she prepared to go right back into the argument. I raised my hand gently, and suggested that she reflect about how it felt to be at least partially validated. Somewhat begrudgingly she said to John, “I appreciate your caring about my feelings and seeing that you did hurt me.” I then asked Barbara to validate some part of John’s issues with her and as she did so, they began to turn the corner. Their energy began to coalesce. A new technique was born for me-one that I now call “The 5% Rule.”

Even if you disagree with the vast majority of what you are hearing from the other person, you can ordinarily find some small content that you can acknowledge. We typically marginalize if not ignore this part because our automatic default is grounded in the right vs. wrong battle. Our thoughts seek to refute rather than confirm. Even though we say we care about each other we don’t act lovingly.

If we break free from the insane goal of winning an argument and try to find something in what the other person is saying that we might concur with, the results can be astonishing.

Once your partner feels heard and moreover affirmed, he or she may be in a far better position to take in what you have to say. Timing is essential here. You cannot just say, “Yes, but…” That is part of the process of invalidating. Instead, affirm something, pause, and let the conciliatory spirit fill the space that would otherwise be occupied by the noisy back and forth of argumentation. That shift now becomes fertile ground for a meaningful transition and constructive exchange.

Slow Down

If you rush to reframe or assert your own position, your affirmation appears disingenuous. First you need to validate, then pause enabling you to have the opportunity to share what you want to with a much greater chance that your words will be heard.

Affirming the 5% in no way means that you have to abandon your position regarding the 95% with which you disagree. You have simply laid the groundwork for the other to take in what you have to say. This process permits us to halt our addiction to being reactive and move toward being responsive. The success of this approach allows both parties to behave with compassion and empathy, cooperating rather than competing.

The goal is not to win but to care. You can immediately apply the 5% Rule in your communications with others-whether it’s your intimate partner, a friend or relative or a business relationship.

Once you’ve found that small part of the other’s issues that you can validate, they’ll likely feel heard and may then open to what you have to say. What you want the other person to hear is very important. But you need to set the stage, so to speak, so they can take it in. From there a healthy communication might emerge. We must interrupt the compulsion to be right and our default to being reactive.  Our reactions -by definition – are not well considered or purposeful.

Talk Feelings Not Facts

Arguments are comprised of facts. It’s far more helpful to retreat from facts and simply share how you feel. Feelings by definition are subjective and beyond the scale or right vs. wrong. Try sharing how you feel and if the other person rejects or invalidates you, simply ask, “Do you care how I feel?” This moves us into the heart of the relationship far from the courtroom antics of right vs. wrong.

The 5% Rule is just the first of many steps I’ll be sharing toward attaining a mastery of interpersonal skills and emotional intimacy. Developing these tools allow our relationships to prosper. Just as relationship skills and emotional intelligence ought to be core educational requirements, communication mastery should be the bedrock of any life that aspires to happiness, success, and fulfillment. It’s vital that we learn the necessary nuances and skills of communication so that our words may actually be heard. Stay tuned for the next steps coming soon.

The 5% Rule was excerpted from Mel’s book,  The Possibility Principle.

In these daunting times, emotional and psychological resilience are invaluable. To that end I’ve launched a pandemic support network from which I’ll be sharing crucial coping strategies and tips  through my articles, podcasts, videos, and  live zoom conferences.

Join Mel’s pandemic support network for articles, podcasts and live zoom conferences.


Mel Schwartz, Psychotherapist in Westport CT, podcast 024 staying psychologically resilient during the coronavirus pandemicThe Possibility Podcast Episode 24

Staying Psychologically and Emotionally Resilient Through the Pandemic
In this special episode, Paul Samuel Dolman, host of the What Matters Most podcast and the author of several memoirs and other works, joins Mel as they share approaches for staying healthy on all levels as the coronavirus (covid-19) crisis impacts all of humanity.

Mel shares his techniques for sustaining a vigilance of mind, through which we don’t succumb to fear. The coronavirus ushers in frightening new realities, yet underneath this crisis new opportunities emerge for our growth. Remember that opportunity is always the flip side of crisis. Trying to ward off uncertainty only induces greater fear. Learning to remain present in the moment is within our power.

The challenges we face through isolation and sheltering in place no longer allow us the distractions to which we’ve become acclimated. However, the challenges of this pandemic provide us the opportunity to develop deeper levels of connectedness with those we shelter with- and others, from a distance.

Thankfully, the internet allows us this connectivity. We seem now to really be all as one; separation appears truly a myth. The homeless person may ultimately impact the health of the billionaire. We must utilize this connectivity to deepen our sense of humanity, with compassion and empathy.

Staying Psychologically and Emotionally Resilient Through the Pandemic

Droplet of water - staying calm during the pandemic

Overcoming Anxiety in The Time of Pandemic

Let’s begin by looking at what we mean by the word anxiety.

Anxiety is the emotional/physical response that occurs when our thoughts attach to fear. There are times when fearful thoughts serve us and are adaptive. Currently, these thoughts may help us maintain vigilance in keeping our distance from others and being hygienically scrupulous.

Yet there are thoughts that don’t serve us as they seek out fear. These are often thoughts that seek certainty and demand to know the future. The future is called the future because it obviously isn’t knowable. But if your thoughts demand to know what can’t be known, the result is anxiety.

Our thoughts wage war with uncertainty. And uncertainty always wins. The pandemic provokes an extreme of uncertainty. The more you need to know the future the more anxious you will feel. It’s that simple.

We cannot know when the coronavirus will retreat, whether there will there be a second wave or all the ways in which the virus might be transmitted. There is a limit to what we can currently know. The more your mind demands certainty, the greater the fear, distress and anxiety.

Exercise:

Reflect on what anxious thoughts you have based upon the unknown of the future?

Ask yourself right now:

“What is causing me distress and anxiety? Does it have something to do with my fear of uncertainty, of what could go wrong in the future?”

New thinking:

I’m ok right now in this moment. If I stay focused in the moment, this moment will unfold into the next moment and become the future that I’m so apprehensive about. Keep your thought in the present and release your need to know the future.
Create a healthy and resilient future by staying focused in the present.

Capture the fearful thought, see it and release it. Think of this like the concept of catch and release that people may employ when they fish.

Remember, reality is actually uncertain and the pandemic in particular presents extreme uncertainty. This is why anxiety is so ramped up. Paradoxically, we must accept uncertainty.

Accepting uncertainty allows you to remain present in the moment. Unless you or a loved one are in danger or ill in this moment, keep your thoughts in the present. When your thought wanders off fearfully to the future, it evokes anxiety.

As I explained in my TEDx talk, Breaking Free from Anxiety, training your mind to accept uncertainty and remain present in the moment frees you from distress.

Exercise:

See your fearful thought.
Say to yourself it’s just a thought.

I don’t need to become the thought.
Set your intention to keep your thoughts focused in the present.

Of course, there are many other challenges that may be causing anxiety. Financial concerns, loss of freedom, isolation, enduring conflicted relationship, and managing children in containment are just a few. We’ll be discussing these in upcoming articles and podcasts.

In the meantime, remember the pandemic will pass. As George Harrison sang, “All things must pass.
__________________________________________________________________

In these daunting times, emotional and psychological resilience are invaluable. To that end I’ve launched a pandemic support network from which I’ll be sharing articles, podcasts, videos and most importantly the launch of live Zoom conferences in which up to 1,000 people can participate. Please join us.

Subscribe to my mailing list, and keep your pulse on crucial coping strategies and tips through my articles, podcasts, videos, and support forum. You can grow stronger than ever through this pandemic as you turn crisis into opportunity.

Join Mel’s pandemic support network for articles, podcasts and live zoom conferences.


Mel Schwartz, Psychotherapist in Westport CT, podcast 024 staying psychologically resilient during the coronavirus pandemicListen To The Latest Podcast

The Possibility Podcast Episode 24
In this special episode, Paul Samuel Dolman, host of the What Matters Most podcast and the author of several memoirs and other works, joins Mel as they share approaches for staying healthy on all levels as the coronavirus (covid-19) crisis impacts all of humanity.

Mel shares his techniques for sustaining a vigilance of mind, through which we don’t succumb to fear. The coronavirus ushers in frightening new realities, yet underneath this crisis new opportunities emerge for our growth. Remember that opportunity is always the flip side of crisis.  Trying to ward off uncertainty only induces greater fear. Learning to remain present in the moment is within our power.

The challenges we face through isolation and sheltering in place no longer allow us the distractions to which we’ve  become acclimated. However, the challenges of this pandemic provide us the opportunity to develop deeper levels of connectedness with those we shelter with- and others, from a distance.

Thankfully, the internet allows us this connectivity. We seem now to really be all as one; separation appears truly a myth. The homeless person may ultimately impact the health of the billionaire. We must utilize this connectivity to deepen our sense of humanity, with compassion and empathy.

Staying Psychologically and Emotionally Resilient Through the Pandemic

How to make better decisions during the COVID19 pandemic. Two faces looking outwards.

How to Make Better Decisions and Stay Safe Through the Pandemic

In the coming weeks and months we’ll be addressing many of the challenges you’ll likely be facing and new ways of thinking to overcome them. I welcome you to join me in this participatory, interactive experience. Please feel welcome to email me with your questions. I’ll also be announcing a live, participatory web conference in which we’ll pursue ongoing discussions and establish a virtual support forum for one another. Please contact me if you’d like to be added to this mailing list.

Acting sensibly-whether for others or for yourself-often requires embracing dissonance. Here’s what I mean by the word dissonance.

During life prior to the coronavirus pandemic, I can recall the tension I might feel when out to dinner, the waiter might ask, “What would you like for dessert?” The very description of the tasty sugary treat produced endorphins. I felt a visceral urgency to order that dessert.

But another thought might arise and do battle with my desire. That thought might be, “you’ll feel like crap later and regret this.” Or, “I know how unhealthy this will be.” Learning to hold the tension of this internal conflict helps us make better choices. Engaging the battle of competing choices allows us to become more complex and mindful. This ability separates us from the baser instincts of the animal kingdom.

Nowhere–and at no time­– is this tension more vital to our well-being and survival than in the midst of this pandemic. This realization crystalized for me as I was facilitating a virtual therapy session with a high school student just the other day.

Her behavior was reckless as she continued to party with friends, sharing joints as they got high. When I asked her if she was aware that her behavior exposed her, her friends, their parents and countless others to infection from the virus, she sheepishly agreed.

“So why do you do it,” I asked? Her reply was stunningly to the point. “Because I want to.” I discovered that she was simply blocking a dissonant reality, that her behavior could wreak terrible harm. I see this troubling behavior often, often among younger people, but common to all ages. Avoiding the tension of conflicting thoughts damages us as it reduces us to an ignorant simplicity.

Exercise.

If you’re considering breaking quarantine or not social distancing and you have a thought “I’ll be fine,” ask yourself how you came to that belief? If the issue isn’t with yourself but with your children or friends, ask them, “What makes you think you’ll be fine.” That is a belief not a fact. What makes you think your belief is true?

New thinking: “I’m having a thought that’s telling me I’ll be fine.” “Why do I believe that thought to be true?” Invite in the discordant thinking that sets up conflict.

Trust that you can resolve the struggle between opposing thoughts in a healthy way. The ability to invite in dissonance enables us to grow in our relationship with ourselves and with others, but for the moment let’s stay focused on its vital importance in this pandemic.

This may sound counterintuitive but we need to heighten our comfort with the tension around the choices we make. When we open to opposing thoughts, we buy a few extra moments to reflect on dearly important decisions. That space between your thoughts offers you both insight and illumination. Slow down and think as you break the spell of misleading thoughts.

In the nanosecond between your thoughts, you exist in a state of pure possibilities. Try to extend that moment and you can achieve wisdom. —The Possibility Principle


Mel Schwartz, Psychotherapist in Westport CT, podcast 024 staying psychologically resilient during the coronavirus pandemic

Listen To The Latest Podcast

The Possibility Podcast Episode 24

Staying Psychologically and Emotionally Resilient Through the Pandemic

The domino impact - how your thoughts impact emotions during COVID19

Staying Resilient Through the Pandemic: Maintaining Vigilance of Mind

All of us­ are sharing something in common. Our lives feel in upheaval of as we plunge into the chaos of the unknown. I’d like to help you sustain your emotional and psychological resilience through this storm. And in some cases, we’ll even find new opportunities through this crisis. In these daunting times we can benefit from new ways of looking at things, developing new coping strategies and opening to an ongoing support system. That’s my offer to you.

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be exploring many of the challenges you’ll be facing and new ways of thinking to overcome them. I welcome you to join me in this participatory, interactive experience. Please feel welcome to email me with your questions. I’ll also be announcing a regular web conference in which we’ll pursue ongoing discussions and establish a virtual support community for one another. Please contact me if you’d like to be added to this mailing list.

Undeniably this pandemic engulfs us with substantive reasons for fear. They run the gamut from illness, death, isolation, fear for loved ones, loss of income and on and on. Although these apprehensions are reality based, we need not fall victim to them. Anxiety and distress surface when our thoughts attach to fear.

As I wrote in my book The Possibility Principle:

The most important relationship you will ever have is not with your parents, not with your children, not with your spouse or partner. The relationship that will impact you far more than any other is with your thoughts. They are your constant companion. Your thoughts can be your greatest ally or your worst antagonist.

Try this exercise:

Try to notice your thoughts.  You can learn to see them as they clamor for your attention. These thoughts create the filter for your experiences and feelings. Thoughts are always coming at you. Ask yourself what thought you’re having right now in this moment. Don’t judge the thought, just witness it. If you do this exercise diligently and often, you’ll be developing an essentially important new muscle memory.

If you learn to see your thought, you don’t have to become your thought. That is what I call thinking.

Thought might be telling you: I could die from this. Ok, if you attach to this thought, if you become this thought, what’s the result? Fear, panic, anxiety. That makes things far worse.

New thinking: Say to yourself, I’m having a thought which is telling me I could die or get sick.

OK, that’s possible but if I attach to and become that thought, the outcome will be disastrous on an emotional, psychological and physical plane. What good does this possibly do for you? See this thought and choose to let it go.

New thinking: As far as I know I’m alright in this moment, so why not stay in this moment and maintain calm?

Another exercise:

When you notice fearful thoughts trying to grab your attention, place your forefinger vertically in front of your lips and say “shhhhh” to the thought. You can choose not to open the door to fearful thoughts. Be persistent and you will transcend fear.

Thoughts and feelings work in tandem. If you succumb to fearful thoughts, you will feel anxious.

Our fear of uncertainty lies at the root of anxiety. Now, more than ever, we cannot know the future. That is how reality operates. Don’t allow your thoughts to wander off into the dread of the future. Stay present in the moment, and do what you must to be safe. Safe in terms of social distancing, safe in terms of washing your hands, and safe in terms of developing a healthy vigilance of mind.

Remember, it’s natural to look at how the coronavirus has negatively impacted your life. Again, the consequences may be isolation, enduring conflicted relationships in constrained quarters, loss of freedom, boredom, financial loss, etc. If our thoughts focus on the loss, we’re screwed.

What we need to do is look at our circumstances through the framework of relativity.

I recently had a virtual therapy session with a high-school student complaining about the restrictions his parents were placing on his social activities. It felt like his life had come to a screeching halt. I took him through a thought experiment. I asked him to imagine his being a teenager 30 years ago. There were no cell phones, no FaceTime, no Netflix. He’d be completely cut off from deeper interaction and connection with friends. His opportunities for learning and entertainment through the internet non-existent. Just imagine that, I told him. Just picture yourself there. Now come back to where you are and feel some relief.

Imagine you were sitting in a prison cell with virtually none of the opportunities your life provides even under the circumstances of a pandemic. Or worse still in the end stage of a terminal illness. Does that make you feel better? It should.

Train your mind to zero in on what you can be grateful about. This will result in a healthier state of mind.

Keep your focus on the relative advantages you have even in today’s pandemic compared to how things might have been in the past. Once again, where your thoughts take you summon up your accompanying emotions. The only thing you can and should try to control in your life is your thinking. The pandemic can’t take that away from you.

Mel is currently offering his services to individuals, couples and families virtually by phone, FaceTime or zoom. 


Mel Schwartz, Psychotherapist in Westport CT, podcast 024 staying psychologically resilient during the coronavirus pandemic

Listen To The Latest Podcast

The Possibility Podcast Episode 24

Staying Psychologically and Emotionally Resilient Through the Pandemic

The Possibility Podcast With Mel Schwartz Episode 024: Staying Psychologically and Emotionally Resilient Through the Pandemic


In this special episode, Paul Samuel Dolman, host of the What Matters Most podcast and the author of several memoirs and other works, joins Mel as they share approaches for staying healthy on all levels as the novel coronavirus (covid-19) crisis impacts all of humanity.

Mel shares his techniques for sustaining a vigilance of mind, through which we don’t succumb to fear. The coronavirus ushers in frightening new realities, yet underneath this crisis new opportunities emerge for our growth. Remember that opportunity is always the flip side of crisis.  Trying to ward off uncertainty only induces greater fear. Learning to remain present in the moment is within our power.

The challenges we face through isolation and sheltering in place no longer allow us the distractions to which we’ve  become acclimated. However, the challenges of this pandemic provide us the opportunity to develop deeper levels of connectedness with those we shelter with– and others, from a distance.

Thankfully, the internet allows us this connectivity. We seem now to really be all as one; separation appears truly a myth. The homeless person may ultimately impact the health of the billionaire. We must utilize this connectivity to deepen our sense of humanity, with compassion and empathy.

Talk With Mel!

Help others when Mel helps you: Contact Mel and find out how you can be a caller on the show and ask Mel a question. He’ll put the Possibility Principle to work for you, and your conversation will be recorded for use in a future episode of the podcast so other listeners can benefit.

Please Rate and Review

If you enjoy The Possibility Podcast, please take a moment to rate and review the show in iTunes / Apple Podcasts or Podchaser. It only takes a few minutes, and adding your review is as easy as clicking this link.

Your rating and review helps raise the visibility of The Possibility Podcast, especially on iTunes / Apple Podcasts, which is one of the biggest podcasting platforms today. More visibility for the show means more listeners… and that growth means the show reaches — and helps — more people like you.

Thank you!

Subscribe To the Possibility Podcast with Mel Schwartz

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