COVID-19 Pandemic:Finding Psycho-spiritual Solutions to Psychological Trauma

Chapter: 30

COVID-19 Pandemic:Finding Psycho-spiritual Solutions to Psychological Trauma

Dr. Yuju Francis


On January 30, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak as an international public health emergency (Mahase, 2020) and a pandemic on March 11, 2020 (the WHO-Director General’s opening-remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 on March 11, 2020). First of its kind in our living memory, COVID-19 pandemic is raising widespread panic and anxiety in individuals faced with real or imagined threat. This experience has changed the lifestyle of people from what used to the ‘normal’ to a ‘new normal’ with government imposed lock down restrictions and quarantining of people either in their homes or government supervised centers, making compulsory the wearing of masks and social distancing. The constant exposure to media, and the news about the COVID-19 outbreak in one’s nieghbourhood and the spike in number of infected cases from other regions and related mortality, can exacerbate one’s stress and anxiety. Frequent experience of stress and anxiety can lower one’s immunity and even compromise the speedy recovery from a disease. The existential stress we are going through in these times of pandemic stems from our identification with the outcome of our doing which we often think is all that make up our happiness. The more we hold on to what is causing us stress and grief, the more they increase in our lives. The more we hold onto our spiritual self– the solutions and the strength it offers, more emotionally and spiritually centered we become.

This chapter on ‘COVID-19 pandemic: Finding psycho-spiritual solutions to psychological trauma’ seeks to provide the readers a review of the COVID-19 related trauma experiences,understanding on religious and spiritual coping strategies and some of the hand-picked psycho spiritual solutions to the trauma gleaned from different sources.


Psychological Trauma during Pandemic

The emotional response of people during massive outbreak of an infectious disease can include feelings of extreme fear and insecurity along with experience of separation from their family and friends.Moreover, strict restrictions on the freedom one enjoyed which eventually may lead to dramatic mental health problem (Brooks et al., 2020). Containment measures, including self-isolation and social distancing, have a strong impact on the people’s daily life and may negatively affect psychological well-being (Brooks et al., 2020). The COVID-19 outbreak currently seems to be leading to severe mental health problems in worst-hit countries (Fiorillo & Gorwood, 2020; Kang et al., 2020). The vast amount of incorrect information circulated on the internet can also add negatively to one’s health and well-being (Bao et al., 2020).

In a situation like pandemic, people are likely to assess the situation negatively and can go through negative emotions such as anger, fear, aversion etc. and engage in avoidant behaviors, fearing contracting infection and maintaining social distancing strictly (Kim & Sue, 2020). Cai et al.(2020) who studied the psychological impact and coping strategies of front line medical staff in Hunan,China, between January and March 2020, found that the main factors associated with stress included the perceived risk of infection to them­selves and their families, patient mortality, the availabili­ty of clear infection control guidance, the availability of ef­fective protective equipment, recognition of their work by hospital authorities, and a decrease in reported cases of COVID‑19 (Cai, Tu, et al., 2020).

A recent study in China by Li et al. (2020) reported the experience of vicarious traumatization among the general public which was found to be significantly higher than those of the front-line healthcare staff, particularly the nurses.


Some Predisposing Factors

Moccia et al. (2020) studied the attachment experience of stress response during COVID-19 pandemic. One of the functions of attachment is to regulate distress (Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991) and evidence suggests that quality of early attachment experiences and Adult Attachment Style (AAS) may affect stress responsivity, both at a physiological and psychological level (Kidd, Hamer & Steptoe, 2011).

A possible explanation given by Moccia et al. (2020 to the results of their study is that while persons with anxious attachment style are likely to exaggerate their distress in order to ensure the care they need, persons with an avoidant attachment style, although they put up outward expression of calmness, may be anxious internally. Alternatively, persons with obvious avoidant attachment style, whoinclined to be self-directed and often do not show distress upon social separation, are likely to recognize self-isolation, and social distancing preventive measures, as less worrying as opposed to anxiously attached individuals.

It has been observed that as people return to work after containing the spread of COVID-19, there can be increase in people’s self-esteem as a result of enhanced social connection, economic stability, enhanced quality of life with less stress and better immunity (Evans &Repper, 2000; Lu et al. 2017; Modini et al., 2016).


Stress and Coping

Physiological stress causes 95% of humanity’s illness (Loyd& Johnson, 2011). When one’s nervous system is out of balance-both sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, one experiences physiological stress. The measure of physiological stress is the Heart Rate Variability (HRV). Continued experience of stress put one into fight and fight modes. Although these modes are designed to save one’s life, when it’s sustained over time by continued stress, it can cause damage to organs, especially by directly affecting the immune system (Loyd& Johnson, 2011).

A person’s ability to cope with a highly stressful event is associated with certain factors such as:

  • Belief system
  • Prior experience(s) of trauma
  • Chronic stressful experiences
  • Level of support
  • Perception of their ability to cope with the event
  • Internal resources (coping mechanisms etc.)
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Other stressors in their life at the time of the event

 (Johnson, 2009, p. 4).

Coping with stress can be emotion-focused and problem-focused. Behaviors which include distancing from and avoiding stressful event, perceiving the situation as less serious, selectively attending to details that do not increase the stress level, engaging in positive reframing and comparison can be considered as emotion-focused coping (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). These coping strategies are directed inward, to change the subjective evaluation of a situation in order to reduce emotional distress. Very often, individuals going through depression and significant psychological distress use emotion-focused coping (Holahan, Moos, & Schaefer, 1996).

Behaviours chosen and directed at changing the external factors related to the stressful event are called problem-focused coping. Such behaviors include gathering information, decision making, problem-solving, and carrying out one’s decision. This form of coping people often use when they see the availability of social support and see the situation as amenable to change (Holahan& Moos, 1987).


Religious Coping

Harrowfield and Gardner (2010) defined religious coping as, “the religious thought and behaviors used in understanding and dealing with significant demands” (p. 209). According to Smith (2004), religious coping refers to, “religious behavior or thoughts occurring in response to a specific situation; usually one that is stressful or traumatic” (p. 235).

Pargament, Koenig and Perez (2000) in their study found that better psychological adjustment was related to some of the religious coping strategies such as, religious forgiveness, benevolent religious reappraisal, and seeking religious support.Poor adjustment was related to reappraisals of God’s power, spiritual discontent, reappraising God as punishing (Pargament et al. 2000).

Miller, Gall, and Corbeil (2011) explored the experience of prayer with a sacred object and its impact on stress. They found that prayers with sacred objects provided a sense of security, comfort and identity in moments of life crises. Pargament and Mahoney (2005) suggest that sacred objects can elicit spiritual emotions such as: a new sense of calmness, comfort, and peace and a feeling of strength or courage.


Spirituality and Health

The spiritual dimension of human being has been well recognized by different psychologist beginning from the times of William James and Carl Jung. In the fourth edition of the Diagnostic manual, a category titled ‘religious and spiritual problem’ had been introduced (Rangaswamy, 2002). Except the first step of the 12 steps Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) programme founded by Bill.W and Bob. S, in 1935, all the remaining 11 steps sought to develop in the alcoholic a relationship with God or a higher power, without which the chances of recovery were a distant dream (O’ Donnell, 2013). Carl Jung in 1961, wrote a letter to Bill. W in which Jung acknowledged power of spirituality. Jung wrote that the craving in alcoholics for alcohol as ” the equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God.”

Among the early thinkers who endorsed the importance of spirituality, in living a meaningful and healthy life was Victor E. Frankle, who published his book ‘Man’s search for meaning’ in 1946. Even in treacherous living conditions and inhuman treatment Frankle believed that life still held potential meaning. Fankle seems to understand spirituality as a search for meaning as opposed to a discovery of meaning (O’Donnell, 2013).

In 1975, Dr. Herbert Benson a cardiologist at Harvard University studied the effect of ‘relaxation response’ and its physical benefits. He found that including transcendental meditation and yoga elicited decreased oxygen consumption, heart rate variability and blood pressure, all these improving one’s physical health, although the mainstream medical establishment didn’t pay much attention the “relationship between mind and body” (Benson, 1975, 1984). For Benson, spirituality is the practice of deepening of religious beliefs and convictions one holds through meditation, prayers, or other religious rituals and altruistic actions.

In recent times there have been moves by health professionals to include spirituality in the biopsychosocial model of healthcare (McKee &Chappel, 1992; Whipp, 1998). Bruce Lipton (2010) in his book the Biology of Belief, says, “We are made in the image of God and we need to put spirit back into the equation when we want to improve our physical and our mental health” (p.xxvi).


Spiritual Well-being

Some authors have defined spiritual well-being as an experience of peace and serenityarising from one’s relationship with something bigger than his individual self and from spiritual aspects such as meaning and purpose of life (Yoon, Suh & Kim et al., 2018; Lee & Salman, 2018). Whitford and Oliver (2012) agree with the above definition and also suggest that spiritual well-being can also encompass a notion of oneness or interconnectedness with all beings.


Relationship between Individual and Spiritual Beings

Relationship between spiritual beings-saints, angels, spirits and so on bears many characteristics akin to human relationship. However these possess some unique qualities which enable them to serve as resources which human relationship cannot (Griffith & Griffith, 2002).Some of these unique features include, (1) The personal relationship between self and one’s God or other spiritual beings may be the only relationship in which there are no secrets. (2) A personal relationship with one’s God or other spiritual beings may provide the only relationship that can be counted upon to be always present and available. (3) A relationship between a person and God or another spiritual being can provide a continuous source of meaning.(4) A relationships with a spiritual being can stand as witness to what is just and unjust (Griffith & Griffith, 2002).




Soul, Spirit and Spirituality

The soul has been identified as existing beyond the immediate notion of a personal identity (Lancaster, 2004). Moreover, from a holistic perspective the experience of real health has been associated with a ‘core self’ that connects to the human soul and the spirit (Bloom, 2000. Chopra (2012) considers pure awareness as the soul or spirit. At this level of awareness, when you hold spiritual beliefs and believe the soul or spirit to be the basis of life, then spirituality becomes an active principle (Chopra, 2012).So according to Chopra (2012), there is a spiritual solution to every problem and these solutions don’t lie at the level of the problem we have created. It requires one to expand his or her awareness beyond the problem and when that is done the solutions to the problem begin to arise.


Levels of Awareness according to Deepak Chopra (2012)

Deepak Chopra suggests in order to find a spiritual solution to one’s problem one needs to recognize his or her level of awareness (2012). According to him there are three levels of awareness. First, he calls the contracted awareness characterized by one’s desires not being met; there is much opposition to achievement of one’s goal. At this level the individual experiences fear and anxiety.

The second level of awareness is the expanded awareness. At this level there is more clarity about one’s issue; less confusion and solutions begin to appear; one gains more confidence; able to make decisions and there is a sense of greater connectedness with people. The person is able to face his or her fear realistically and it begins to diminish.

The third level of awareness is pure awareness. This has always been there in touch with the person and no problem exist at this level of awareness. Challenges are perceived as opportunities. At this stage one is fully open and there is no struggle. There is spontaneous fulfillment of one’s desire; the same benefit is desired for others;the outer world is seen as a reflection of one’s inner world and there is an experience of safety and a feeling of being at home with the universe.


Psycho-spiritual Solutions to Trauma and Stress

Solving Problems by moving towards Spiritual Awareness (Chopra, 2012)

When you are in a state of contracted awareness, bring to your awareness your assumptions, core beliefs and expectations. When you react to a problem so seriously, ask this question: “How do I perceive this issue?” It’s quite likely that you come up with many assumptions, which when clarified through inquiry reduces your stress.

Once the assumptions are clarified, identify your core beliefs which inciteyou to react in a habitual way. Along with this find out what your expectations from people are. Take responsibility for your own feelings. Don’t blame others.Look for answers to come from every direction.

People’s expectations are linked with desire and fear—desire to positive expectation and fear to the negative one, when people anticipate a worst-case scenario.Once you are aware of your expectations, core beliefs and assumptions, you own up your feelings and stop blaming someone else for the same and you are moving from a contracted awareness to expanded awareness.

Pure awareness infuses every thought, feelings and action that helps one exist in his or herbeing. When your mind is blocked by fear, anxiety, anger, resentment, or suffering of any kind, you won’t be able to experience expanded awareness or pure awareness. Becoming aware of your feelings and accepting your feelings is a step toward greater awareness. Therefore, make connections through sensation and feelings and bring to the surface of your awareness what has been blocked and rejected.


Abdominal Breathing to manage Stress (Borysenko, 1987)

Breathing is an automatic bodily function and one can alter it voluntarily. A relaxation response or a fight or flight response can be produced in the body as a result of either reduction or increase in the sympathetic nervous system activity when there is a variation in one’s breathing. Learning to notice one’s breathing and being able to change it mindfully from a tension-producing to relaxation–producing experience is a simple and crucial body mind skill (Borysenko, 1987). This mindful breathing reduces the thoughts racing through one’s mind. Borysenko, suggests the following steps for abdominal breathing:

Notice for about five minutes how you breathe without changing your breathing in anyway. Notice if your belly expanding or flattening as you inhale. If you notice expansion in the belly area, as you breathe in, you are breathing at least in part from your diaphragm. If your belly doesn’t move or goes flat as you breathe in, then you are breathing from your chest.


Shift from Chest to Abdominal Breathing

Take a deep breath in and then breathe out completely through your mouth with an audible sigh of relief. As you do this observe how your belly flattens and try flattening it further by squeezing out the complete air. Now allow the air flow effortlessly through your nose. Now notice your belly expanding. Try a second or third time. A full exhalation can push out the complete air from the bottom of your lungs and as a result the vacuum that is created will pull in a deep diaphragmatic breath.

Borysenko, suggests having an imagery of a balloon in your belly being filled in, as you breathe in through your nose. When your belly is full, let go and feel the balloon emptying as you exhale. About three abdominal breaths can leave you refreshed and relaxed from your tension state.


Using Awareness to Heal

Emotions are energies that move one to feel, to express feelings and to act. Emotion is just an energy, neither positive nor negative. Only one’s attitude toward these emotions and what one does with the energy can be called “positive” or “negative” (Greenspan, 2003). Repression of one’s distressing emotions can later on manifest symptoms of psychological problems. But when one can mindfully attend to, tolerate, and surrender to the energy of the distressing emotions as it flows, the person opens the heart’s doorway to the magic of ‘emotional alchemy’-the conscious flow of emotional information and energy (Greenspan, 2003). Three skills suggested here are: attending, befriending and surrendering. So when one is in deep distress, the following exercise can help:

Take few deep abdominal breaths to relax and follow your normal breath for some time and then:

  • Attend to your Emotions: In other words, attend to your emotions. Identify areas or location of emotions in your body. Feel your emotions. Label your emotions. ‘What you feel you can heal’ says John Gray. You could say something like, ‘Right now my body is feeling fear/ anger’. You have to feel your emotions, if you want to heal it
  • Befriend your Emotions: It entails extending our emotional attention span. Befriending emotional energy is what psychologists call, “affect tolerance”. When you befriend your deep-seated emotions, you actually let them be. You don’t try to suppress, dispel, avoid, deny, analyse or distract yourself from them. You remain non-judgemental about what is going on in your body mind. That is to say, you allow your body to feel what it feels and the mind to think what it thinks, while maintaining a witness consciousness (Greespan, 2003).
  • Surrender to your Emotions: When you surrender you are actually extending your befriending stage of experiencing your emotions. It’s about allowing emotional energy to flow to its end point. The basic axiom of surrender is: to let it go, you have to let it flow.
  • Turn to your Breath for Healing: If you find difficult to surrender to your emotional pain, then turn to your breath. Take about 10 deep release breath (take a deep breath through your nose and release it with a ‘ha’ sound through your mouth) and direct your breath to the spot in your body where you are experiencing this emotional discomfort or pain. Each primary emotion–sadness, fear, anger and joy, expresses itself at different locations in the body.



From Kirtan Kriya tradition- the meditation for reducing Stress

Newberg and Waldman (2009) proposesKirtan Kriya as one of the techniques to reduce stress ( This technique- a form of meditation, has its roots in 16th century. This meditation form has three elements: breathing, sound and movement. Slow and focused breathing can effectively reduce stress, blood pressure, anxiety and other health related issues in addition to enhancing cognitive functioning and mental alertness. The second elements involve chanting of the sounds—sa, ta, na, ma—which can be done silently or aloud. The third part of the meditation involves touching the fingers of both the hands simultaneously with the thumb of respective hand as one chants the sounds: sa, ta, na, ma. These movement and sound keep the mind focused.

Start by finding a comfortable place where you can sit upright with good posture. Take two minutes to focus on your breathing, watching how your chest rise and fall.

  • Begin singing the sounds sa, ta,na, ma while you touch your fingers in succession on both hands. Continue for two minutes.
  • Next, repeat the sounds in whisper while continuing the finger movements. You can still sing it but in whisper. Do this for another two minutes.
  • Now repeat the sound internally. Say them silently to yourself while continuing the finger movements and do this for two minutes.
  • Repeat the sounds in a whisper for another two minutes as you continue to touch your fingers on both hands.
  • Finally, sing the sounds out loud for the final two minutes as you touch your fingers in succession. Then rest and pay attention to how you feel.


Stress Release through deep Yawning

Yawning is one of the best way-kept secrets in neuroscience. It is also useful for reducing performance anxiety and hypertension in the throat (Newberg & Waldman, 2009).

In their book ‘How God changes your brain’, Newberg and Waldman (2009) suggest deep yawning as one of the ways to stimulate the brain. When one yawns there is a unique neural activity in the areas of the brain that are directly involved in generating social awareness, feeling of connectedness and feelings of empathy (Newberg & Waldman, 2009). They also found thatyawning affects one’s awareness, alertness, and bodily relaxation. They suggest the following:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed by others. Take position at a place where you are able to swing arms freely from side to side. It is preferable that you stand instead of sitting as standing allows you to have a fuller inhalation.
  • Begin by taking a very deep breath and stretching your mouth wide open. As you exhale, make a long, sighing sound. Here you are actually faking a series of yawn since it doesn’t come automatically. Continue faking them and give short pause after each yawn. Its’ quite likely that by the fifth or sixth yawn, you’ll feel like giving out a real one.
  • Pay close attention to what happens in your mouth, your throat, your chest and belly, and consider it just normal if you notice your eyes starts watering.
  • You should allow yourself about twelve to fifteen yawns with a few seconds pause between each one.

The total time for this exercise should be about two minutes.


Healing through Religious Rituals

When religious rituals as it impacts the brain, adjust its cognitive and emotional perceptions of the self, in such a way that religiously inclined individual construe it as closing of the distance between self and God (Lipton &Bhaerman, 2009)


The neurobiology of Ritual: According to Lipton and Bhaerman (2009) the major characteristics of rituals are: 1) It generates a subjective experience of ecstasy, tranquility and a sense of wonder which could be of varying intensity in individuals, and 2) It could result in state of union- some degree of spiritual transcendence. Both of these effects are neurobiological in origin.

Studies have shown that participating in spiritual acts such as prayer, religious services, meditations, and physical exercises can significantly reduce the variation in one’s heart rate, blood pressure, rates of respiration, reduce levels of cortisol and create positive affect in one’s body and enhance the immune system functions.

According to Dr. Lipton, belief is blend of thought and emotion. From a neurobiological perspective, rituals leave a felt experiences, in one’s body of God’s presence, proving to the person that scriptural assurances are real (Lipton &Bhaerman, 2009). Therefore, the primary function of a ritual is to turn something in which one believes into something which one can feel.


Developing Compassion and Habit of Loving Kindness

Compassion is considered as the “grieving of the heart”—being moved by other’s pain and to act on their behalf. From a neuroscience perspective, Newberg and Waldman (2009) compares compassion to empathy; but compassion is the ability to respond to another person’s pain.

Buddha said, “Whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind.” In other words,you become what you think you become.For example, every time you see a person, you wish that person to be happy and eventually itbecomes your mental habit and after a while you develop an instinct of kindness. Your kindness shows in your face, posture, and attitudes every time you meet somebody. Tan (2012) suggests the following exercise to develop the habit of loving kindness:


Just like Me-loving Kindness Practice

Read through the script slowly and with generous amount of pause.

Set up.Sit in a comfortable position that would allow you to be alert and relaxed at the same time. Close your eyes and focus on your normal breath and allow your mind to relax for about two minutes. Now bring to your mind someone you care about. Visualize him or her. If you wish, you may use a photograph or video of that person.

‘Just like me’ wishes.Now slowly read to yourself thescript given, pausing at the end of each sentence for reflection: “This person has a body and mind just like me. This person has feelings, emotions, and thoughts, just like me. This person has at some point in his or her life, been sad, disappointed, angry, hurt, or confused, just like me. This person has, in his or her life experienced physical and emotional pain and suffering, just like me. This person wishes to be free from pain and suffering, just like me. This person wishes to be healthy and loved, and to have fulfilling relationships, just like me. This person wishes to be happy, just like me.”(Tan, 2012, P.169-70)

Now allow some wishes to arise. “I wish for this person to have the strength, the resources, and the emotional and social support to navigate the difficulties in life. I wish for this person to be free from pain and suffering. I wish for this person to be happy. Because this person is a fellow human being, just like me. (Pause) now, I wish for everybody I know to be happy” (Long pause) (Tan, 2012, p.170).

End with three deep release breath to relax the mind.Takethree deep breaths. Then gently bring your awareness to the in and out breath, and the spaces in between. Then, gently bring attention to your body, beginning by focusing on sensations in the feet, legs, knees, pelvis, chest, arms, shoulders, back, neck, back of head and face.Now gently open your eyes. Do this above exercise whenever you are conflict with your colleague, spouse or community member.


Translating “Have to” to “Choose to”

Marshal B. Rosenberg (2017), an American psychologist, author, teacher, mediator and the person who developed non-violent communication strategies to resolve conflicts and build relationships, speaks about “life-alienating communication” which can take one away from his or her natural state of compassion. Among different types he mentioned, one is the types of language that denies one’s responsibility. He says, “Our language obscures awareness of personal responsibility” (p.19). For example, the expression ‘have to’ as in “You have to do this whether you like it or not”, obscures one’s personal responsibility for action. Rosenberg (2017) suggest this following exercise to help one develop personal responsibility:

Step 1.Make a list all those things that you tell yourself ‘you have to do’ on a piece of paper.

Step 2. Now clearly acknowledge to yourself that you are doing these things because you choose to do them, not because you have to. Insert the word “I choose to…” in front of each item on you your list.

Step 3.Now that you have acknowledged that you choose to do a particular activity, get in touch with the intention behind your choice by completing the statement, “I choose to because I want…”


Be Grateful- the Power of Gratitude

When you are grateful you are not complaining; what you give out you receive back; when you are not grateful, you cannot receive more in return.Gratitude increases positive emotional state. Grateful people are less stressed due to their optimism as both positive and negative cannot co-exist- it increases immunity; decreases susceptibility to illness; increases interpersonal relationship (Byrne, 2012).

Research over several decades have shown why some people appear happier and grateful than others and also enhance their signature strengths. These behaviors include exercises such as acts of kindness, recalling good things in life, counting one’s blessings, writing a letter of gratitude and nurturing feeling of loving kindness or positive feeling towards others (Layous et al., 2011).


Gratitude Exercise

Write ten things you are grateful for and why? Then feel gratitude deeply.

Example:  I’m truly blessed to have……… (What?)Because…….. (Why?)

Or I’m happy and grateful for……… (What?) because…….(why?)

At the end of each blessing say three times “thank you” “thank you” “thank you”.

Now choose a one problem or negative situation in your life that you most want to resolve.

List 10 things you are grateful for, about the negative situation.

At the end of the list, write, “thank you” “thank you” “thank you” for the perfect solutions.

During the day if you notice yourself thinking or saying something negative about this situation, stop immediately and say: “But I want to say that I’m really grateful for….”


“I am” Meditation

Newberg and Waldman (2009) asserts that spiritual practices can enhance the neural functioning of the brain in ways that they can improve physical and emotional health. Practice of some those rituals like chanting mantras, meditations, yoga, prayers, reading of sacred scriptures all these are beneficial. Anita Moorjani, in her book ‘Dying to me’ which details her Near Death Experience (NDE), says, “We are pure love. We’re not only connected to everyone else and to God, but at a deeper level we’re all God” (p. x). Through the following “I’m” meditation, one affirms this truth and through repeated practice of the same, one learns to enter into a level of pure awareness.


Meditation steps

  • Write down truth that affirms our deepest being. So make a list of all that you desire to achieve or attain. Perhaps you long to attain peace, love, appreciation, fulfillment, perfect health, knowledge, wisdom, loving kindness, compassion and so on.
  • Make a list of affirmation beginning “I am…….” Examples: “I am who I am” or “AhamBrahmasmi”; “I am peace”; “I am love”; “I’m all wishes and dreams fulfilled” and so on. Remember what you write after “I am” need to be in alignment with what God or Higher Power is.
  • Take a comfortable position, keeping your feet planted on the floor (don’t cross your feet), hands placed on your thigh with palms facing upward, and relax by taking couple of deep breaths. Then bring your awareness to your normal breathing. Become aware of the cool air going in through your nostrils and warm air coming out of your nostrils. Stay in this relaxed state for a while.
  • Now repeat to yourself aloud your positive ‘I am’ affirmations. As you say these affirmation, visualize what you are saying, and feel it in your body. Remember when you affirm yourself, it’s important to verbalize, visualize and emotionalize your affirmations.



In this chapter the author has reviewedtherecent studies related to the psychological trauma experienced by people during the phase of a pandemic COVID-19. The role of spirituality or pure awareness in coping with trauma has been explained. Copingwith one’s distressing experience requires one to make a movefrom a contracted level of awareness to an expanded level of awareness where one gains more clarity and find solutionsto one’s current crises. Looking for spiritual solutions to these crises would mean one moving from the level of contracted awareness to a level of pure awareness. It is believed that at this higher level of pure awareness, the problems cease to exist, and spontaneous healing happens both at physical and emotional level. Some of the hand-picked tools and psycho-spiritual solutions explained in this chapter helps in making this shift.


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