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April 13, 2020

Below is a lesson from Fast Company on 3 secrets for overcoming coronavirus stress, as well as our key learning.

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.

A former Navy SEAL and a neuroscientist share 3 secrets for overcoming coronavirus stress


Crammed into the back of a mini-submarine with three other large SEALs, weapons, radios, and packs, you have little space to move, much less find comfort. It’s cold, wet, dark, and cramped. You’re never certain how long the trip will take. After an hour or so, seasickness sets in, and the only place to release is in the very mask you breathe from.

After two hours, cramping sets in, but with no room to stretch, you can only absorb the pain and wait for it to pass. After three hours, you start to think you might be going crazy as a glow stick dances around the darkness. After four or five hours, the submarine finally settles on the bottom of the seafloor, a few hundred yards off the coast, and it’s time to get out. The ride to the office is complete, and the real work begins.

In many ways, nothing has changed. The stress of raising nine-month-old twins, starting a company, and now dealing with the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, is every bit as uncomfortable as what I felt in the back of the SDV (submerged delivery vehicle). Stress on a worldwide scale without a particular end date in sight is unprecedented for those of us alive today. What happens next week, or the week after, or even two months from now is anyone’s guess. Navigating this challenge is going to require a special mindset.

Continue reading here.

Key Learnings:

  • Stress on a worldwide scale without a particular end date in sight is unprecedented for those of us alive today. Navigating this challenge is going to require a special mindset.
  • A set of three principles, leveraged by SEALs and available to all, will help you not only survive but thrive in the weeks and months, perhaps even years, ahead:
    1. When you feel overwhelmed, move the finish line
      • Being overwhelmed = trying to juggle too many mental operations at once
      • Being overwhelmed makes it impossible to design or execute a good action plan
      • Engage challenges piece by piece — smaller pieces are easier to accomplish and restores access to the brain circuits that executes action plans
      • Focus on one thing that can be accomplished in 5-10 minutes — crossing off a small challenge sets you up to define and take on the next
    2. When you feel powerless, take action
      • Powerlessness stems from a lock of perceived control
      • Freeze (feel a loss of control) = impedes dopamine release that leads to a greater sense of powerlessness
      • By taking action — train your brain to repeatedly release dopamine, enhancing your energy levels and creating an outsized effect on your thinking, mood, and sense of what you can control.
      • Examples: read a book, make coffee, text a friend, do laundry
      • “When you’re stuck in the mud, start singing!” Admiral William McRaven
    3. When you feel alone, support someone else
      • Feeling along = the brain spending too much energy taking stock of our inner landscape
      • Supporting others shifts attention from our inner self to the outer world
      • Activates hardwired, ancient brain circuits that release oxytocin and serotonin, prevents the release of chemicals that impair immunity and promote fear
      • Helping others forges psychological and chemical bonds; Chemical bonds positively changes our brain’s assessment of self and our place in the world
      • Reach out to someone in need: phone, text, write, leave cookies out for the neighbor, etc.