Have you ever seen the dozens of large sprawling banners for a single product or brand at a sporting event? It’s common in football, baseball, racing, etc… It will be a single logo displayed over and over and over again in a row. Have you ever wondered why companies spend so much money to take up that much advertising space? It’s because the human brain has to be exposed to something many times for it to become a part of the consciousness. With the constant exposure to a brand or logo, when it comes time to make a decision about a product in that market, you’ll naturally gravitate towards those brands that don’t necessarily have the best advertising, but the most advertising.

This works for other things as well, for example in a study where people were asked to rank photos of individual faces based on beauty, photos of the faces that were shown to the study participants more frequently were ranked higher than those they saw less frequently. Being exposed to certain concepts or ideas repeatedly can also have a profound impact on our mood and outlook.

A few days ago I made the mistake of subscribing to the Coronavirus forum on reddit. This was a newly created subforum devoted entirely to news about COVID-19. While many of us are already seeing some financial impact from the pandemic, one industry that is absolutely booming is media, whether that’s on TV, web pages, social media, etc…That’s because all of us are trying to stay up to date. We want to know “what is going on?” But I soon realized this constant stream of negativity in my news feed was not doing my attitude any favors.

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of positive news to be had at the moment. The outbreak is spreading, people are dying, the economy is taking a hit here in the US as well as globally. Spend a few minutes reading through the news and everything seems a bit bleak. Yet for most of us it’s life as normal for the most part, aside from perhaps having to work from home for the time being. However this additional freedom in our schedule has sent many of us drifting off into a time abyss where simultaneously everything and nothing feels urgent. This has left many of us alone with our thoughts where we sit and ruminate. No one is panicking, yet there seems to be this underlying hum of stress. It’s just sitting there, under the skin, not overwhelming, but unrelenting.

What do we do? We acknowledge our fears and our gratitude.

Fear

To quote Will Smith from one of his many characters where he plays himself: Fear isn’t real. Danger is real, but fear exists only in the mind. That doesn’t mean your fear isn’t legitimate, we all have cause for concern right now. However one thing we can do to help quell our fears is to verbalize them. I’m sure there is some scientific explanation of how and why this works, but I’ve often found just writing out or speaking out the things that are on my mind, takes some stress off of my shoulders.

I’ll go first.

I’m concerned for my business. People are scared for their health and for their financial futures. Neither of those things bode well for those of us working in the health and fitness industry. It’s an interesting paradox that at times when keeping yourself physically (and mentally) fit is most important is when people cut back on things like their gym membership, nutrition plans, etc…Unfortunately we’ve already started to experience the impact of that at Arkitect Fitness, and naturally it makes me anxious for the future.

My other fear is for my own health. As many of you know, I have an underlying heart condition. That puts me at greater risk for developing complications if I contract COVID-19. Now if you look at the developing statistics for this particular virus, it does appear to be comparable to something like the flu prior to when we had adequate treatments and vaccines to influenza. However as someone that has already been on the marginal end of medical odds, I will tell you what many doctors have told me: Statistics mean nothing to the individual. If you are the unlucky one that suffers greater consequences, the statistic will be irrelevant to you at that point.

Gratitude

On top of verbalizing our fears, it’s also important to verbalize the things we are grateful for. Acknowledging the good things in life helps us maintain some perspective, that when the media is shoving negativity down our throats, that there is still much to be happy about.

First and foremost I am grateful for my girlfriend, Katie, who always does everything she can to help me through the stressful times of owning a small business, of which there are many, pandemic or otherwise.

I am also unbelievably grateful for the amazing community we have at Arkitect Fitness, from the members to the staff. The amount of people who have reached out in the last week to ask how we’re doing and to show their support for our business has been overwhelming and absolutely appreciated. We’ve received e-mails, texts, phone calls. Clients going out of there way to assure us they aren’t going anywhere through this.

Those who know me, know that I’m not an overly emotional guy, but the amount of support we’ve received has really moved me in a way that surprised even me.

Your Turn

I invite you to do 3 things today

  1.  Unplug from the news for at least an hour. Ideally get outside and go for a walk during this time.
  2. Verbalize the your fears and your gratitude somewhere, either on this post, to your friends and family or on your own social media
  3. Share this blog so others can do the same.

We can’t control what’s happening in the world, but we can control our own attitude and how we respond to the obstacles ahead.