Yes, I hear you! We’ve all had enough of this Coronavirus situation. A situation neither you nor I have created.

Sometimes I feel like, “Ok, that’s it! I’m going to rip out this mask and scream. Hey, where’s the remote control, let’s change this Corona channel…”! But there’s no control.

Then I catch myself in this hysterical mode, so I shift my thinking in a certain way. Breathe deeply. Smile. Life is beautiful. Thank you, God! Now, I feel calmer, even somehow happier!

You may ask, “How can this be possible in a pandemic”?

Well, it took me 15 years living in a horrific war in Lebanon to get trained on calming myself down, even in the midst of exploding bombs. I had to, because I used to volunteer with the Red Cross and in field hospitals, and you can’t be hysterical in front of patients!

One basic rule I learned from the war:

Hiba Hamdan

Hiba Hamdan

If you can’t control it, don’t fight it! Just survive it!

Since March, when we started to seriously feel the coronavirus impact, I started to apply what I had learned, and it’s been working!

You too can feel calm and somehow happy if you apply 3 easy principles that were tested-and-proved to help survive tough times, a war, coronavirus, or any “can’t-control-it-dangerous-risky-and-driving-me-crazy” situation. Let’s call this situation a WarOna! (War-Corona)

1. Be Safe (Body)

When I started to volunteer with the Red Cross in Lebanon, I was only 13 years old. Because I’m always passionate about helping others, and with the craziness of a teenager, I used to take high risks and go to dangerous fighting areas. One day, my older brother said to me, “Hiba, be careful, and don’t do anything that can’t be reversed. The war will end, and you don’t want to end up with no legs or no arms, and not able to continue your life easily”.
His words stayed with me, so I learned basic safety-practices and applied them. Today, I’m learning different measures to stay safe-and-healthy during the pandemic. You know these already; if not, just ask any 5-year-old kid!
Other than washing our hands, wearing a mask, and eating healthy; there’s another aspect to consider: Stress. During the war, there were as many people who died from stress-induced heart attacks as those killed by bombs…
Do you want to survive a deadly virus, then after all is over, end up with a serious condition just because you stressed yourself out?
In 1990, once the civil war ended in Lebanon, I was able to start realizing my dreams because I stayed healthy and… alive. I left to North America, got a dream job traveling around the world, got to live in beautiful-safe places, and got to have wonderful loving friends.
What dreams would you like to realize when Corona is gonna?!
Start today to prepare a list of goals-and-dreams and sanitize stress out of your life.

2. Be Grateful (Mind)

In whatever terrible condition you’re in, there’s always someone else, somewhere else in the world, who’s got worse. Misery can go to infinity!
Be grateful of what you have now; and make it easier on yourself by imagining the worst! Exaggerate, and the situation becomes humorous.
During the war, when serious bombing used to start, we’d run with our family and all neighbors down to the basement, or any other sheltering place. We’d sit there at candlelight, horrified by the loud explosions around us, and we’d say, “At least, we have here food and coffee. Imagine if we were in Zimbabwe-Africa, hungry, and chased for days by lions and tigers!” And we’d laugh!
Today, if you’re in Zimbabwe, hungry, and chased by lions and tigers, you’d say…
“Imagine if I were now in the US…”!!
When you catch yourself having negative thoughts, turn your focus to the good things you have, and be grateful. Gratitude triggers endorphins in our brain and helps us feel better.
The American poet Walt Whitman said, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you”.

3. Be of Service (Soul)

Serving our community is healing.
When we help others, people will be grateful, they’d be praying for us, and we’d get all that positive energy, the good-karma, coming back at us, making our life better. You know, you can be of service doing nothing… except simply smiling! You’ll feel better, the others around you will feel better. What a great service!
One day during the war in Lebanon, I was volunteering at a field hospital, and there was a sudden attack on my small town. Fifty-eight innocent relatives, and my grandma, were shot at their door… My life was saved because I was out there, being of service.
How can you serve your community while doing your daily work, and taking care of family or business? Helping others will energize your life. In the process, you may discover your life purpose, or -like in my case- you may save your life.
Be safe, be grateful, be of service; and remember, if you can’t control it, don’t fight it, just survive it!

Hiba Hamdan grew-up in Lebanon during the civil war (1975-1990), then moved to North America, where she had a 20-year career in the Airlines and Telecommunication industries. Currently, Hiba lives with her husband in Santa Barbara, California, and works on a part-time basis in TV Programming & Production.

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