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Help guide.

Basically, what he was trying to say is that we can choose how to interpret events and how we feel about them.

One thing that we all have in common is that we all suffer. Buddhism even says that "life is suffering"! How cheery… However, without hard times there would be no great times. There's no light without darkness. There are no rainbows without rain etc. etc. You get the gist! Change is difficult but often beneficial and even necessary.

So, going back to Epictetus: how can we apply this to the current Coronavirus situation?

Well, you can choose which aspects of the situation to focus on and how to feel about them. I think that most of us (myself included) are focusing on the bad things and how our lives have changed negatively. But what if we focus on how these struggles are changing our lives for the better? It reminds me of a saying about a cloud and a silver lining…

For example:

Negative view: I'm stuck at home for the foreseeable future.

Positive view:

  • I'm saving 1-2 hours/day commuting, which means I have more time to read, do yoga, learn a new skill (maybe don't choose the violin if you live with other people)

  • I get to spend a lot more time with my family/loved ones, who I usually don't see much of during the week

  • I can Marie Kondo my entire house

  • As most people are stuck at home, I can still organize (video) calls with people that I regularly see - why not play cards over Skype?!

  • This is a great time to reach out to people that you haven’t been able to see (maybe you’ve been too busy or they live in a different country) and to those loved ones that you don’t speak to as much as you’d like.

I'm not saying that every negative situation can be turned into a positive one (although I'm sure it could happen if you tried reallyyyy hard), but during times like these (where there are some things we can't control) let's try and focus on the positives and only focus on what we can control.

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