Updated: Sep 3
Anxiety is an emotion a lot of us are experiencing right now to different degrees. We are living through a public health crisis that we have zero or very little experience to draw on to help us adapt. It’s understandable why so many people are feeling anxious or out of sorts. The good news is there are strategies we can practice to help calm anxious responses and empower us during this challenging time!
We are all doing our best to flatten the curve and change the external world by doing things like, hand washing, and social distancing. There are also steps you can take to have a beneficial affect on the health of your internal world!
Here’s the Mind-Body Science:
Our brains are set up to plan for the future.
When we don’t have enough information to plan, however, we start to spin out in what is called perseveration-a fancy term for our brains getting caught in repetitive thought loops.
A simple and helpful equation when it comes to anxiety- Fear + Uncertainty = Anxiety
All too often it’s thought that anxiety is a stand-alone emotion that just happens to us. When anxiety is seen as part of an equation, however, we are empowered to look to other components that can be addressed to affect an outcome! For now, I’m going to focus on the Uncertainty part of the equation.
Below are Three Simple Steps to Build Resilience and Calm Anxiety
1. Educate don’t saturate
It’s extremely important to stay informed on how to best protect yourself, family and society. Information is growing, shifting and changing at a very rapid speed. It’s important to empower yourself with what you CAN DO now. Anxiety can increase if you continue to search for answers that aren’t currently known. The continued search for certainty, when certainty can’t be offered can trigger more anxiety if you’re not careful.
2. Calm the “What if” thinking loop
Notice when you begin to feel anxious.
“Do I have enough information to make a decision right now?”
“Is worrying helping me make decisions, or is it just making me more anxious?
3. Control the Controllables!
“Worry doesn’t solve tomorrow of its problems; it only steals the power from today.”
When you become mindful that there aren’t solutions to your current questions, bring your attention to what you can and are controlling. These controllable include things like, hand washing, the social distancing, and staying connected to family, and friends.
Remind yourself that things will calm down. When there are more answers to your questions, you can start to plan further into the future. For NOW, access the data and resources you have and take it one day at a time.
This is indeed an unprecedented time we are living through. The definition of unprecedented, ADJECTIVE- never done or known before, speaks to the UNCERTAINTY we are collectively facing as well as the challenge we are called to meet! By putting these three strategies to work, you’ll experience more productivity and peace, then emerge on the other side of this historic time having grown your resilience and better able to manage the emotional tides that accompany trying times.