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How Your Values Determine the Way You Cope with COVID-19

The continuing stress of managing changes brought on by COVID-19 can wear on us emotionally, mentally and even physically. Living in a sustained heightened anxiety will amplify any strain that already exists in any of our personal or work relationships. Our responses will determine whether these relationships are strengthened or whether cracks that already existed will now erupt into divorce or other conflict.

With so many unknowns, we have to be cautious to avoid giving too much of our attention to speculation, as our imaginations tend to focus on the thing that we fear the most, rather than what is most likely to happen. You will be changed by whatever circumstances you are facing right now, but that does not mean you have to be changed in a negative way. Survival does not have to mean sacrificing your values along the way or turning to habits that will damage you in the long run. You can take control of the way you change by deciding what is most important to you, what continues to give you fulfillment and joy, and the kind of person you want to be, both for yourself and for those closest to you.

It’s the way each individual copes during this time that will determine whether they come out of all of this with a renewed sense of mission, direction and purpose. Making poor choices out of fear can exaggerate and expose weaknesses in our character, the way we treat others, or in our relationships. Poor choices could cause damage that is difficult to recover from, such as acting out of selfishness, devaluing certain individuals for our own purposes, or ignoring the needs of those who depend on us. Positive choices, however, can build stronger families and friendships. By identifying what and who is most important to you and focusing on your personal values, you can become stronger as a person and as a family.

Larry Deavers is a License Independent Clinical Social Worker and Executive Director of Family Counseling Service of West Alabama.

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