How to Cope with Anxiety from the Unknown
Learn how to deal with anxiety caused by COVID-19
- Accept the new reality and then make adjustments
- Start tracking mood behavior with Ultimate Well Being
- Learn to just live and enjoy; if you are struggling with anxiety read the book, “When Panic Attacks”
- Nature, fruits, and self care is important
We are all subject to the misfortune of coronavirus. Anxiety is a natural, justifiable response to the current condition. But it is when anxiety reaches elevated levels that it undermines our wellbeing and interferes with our ability to keep on. So don’t let it.
Face anxiety, understand it and overcome it. Here are some techniques for gaining inner calm to cope with the realities of our fragile human existence.
1. Accept the New Reality
Acceptance: Anxiety begets anxiety. The first thing in chance s is to accept the new situation, then adjust. This, in fact, could be a year-long based on the fact that the US government doesn’t want to take extreme measures to shut it down. So learn to accept the new normal and start to change yourself.
What causes your anxiety? Write those things down and then answer a question: Why does this make me anxious? After that understand the downside. If you lose your job will you lose your home? Start to defend against the worst-case scenario. (I’m probably the only homeless person reading this :).
Just Live: We have such a difficult time just living today. What joy can be found in eating, sleeping, reading, and hobbies! Try to find enjoyment in places that you have neglected. Don’t pick up too much. I like to read 1 book at a time so not to trigger my ADHD. One book that helped my anxiety was “When Panic Attacks” by David Burns.
Mood Check-In: It’s a great time to start practicing Ultimate Well-Being and mood check-ins. Check-in 3-4x per day. Be very aware of what makes your mood fluctuate and adjust the key components. There are many great apps out there and we will cover them all.
Gratitude: Do your gratitude journal.
Abundant research supports what many of us know from experience: just a few hours in nature is incredibly restorative. If you can’t, a few minutes sitting in your yard gazing at a rustling tree is helpful. Studies have even shown that just listening to nature sounds on headphones has a small stress-reduction impact.
Get Sunlight Too..
Just ten minutes a day of sun exposure on bare skin is an easy, free, fun way to reduce stress and promote overall health. A moderate amount of sunlight improves mood, sleep, and energy levels, all of which are critical to controlling anxiety.
2.Take a Technology Break!
A big contributor to rising anxiety levels is the constant stimulation, distraction and multitasking that has taken over our lives. It’s important to find real down-time again. Seed your day with two-minute, device-free mini-breaks to just stop and be.
3.Treat Yourself Well
Aromatherapy: Using an essential oil diffuser in your home is an effortless way to promote wellness and relaxation. Buy calming blends or make your own with whatever scents you find soothing.
Meditation: The simple act of retreating to a quiet, safe space for a few minutes is already a powerful tool to reduce anxiety. But finding a specific technique that works for you may require some exploration. There are thousands of free tutorials online, but the key is when you find something that helps, stick with it! Regular daily practice is the only way it will come to your aid in the hour of need.
Loving-kindness: This wonderful practice has the power to wash away fear, worry and all other forms of negative thinking. It involves cultivating a profound love for all beings (including yourself), feeling compassion toward their struggles and a sincere wish for their wellbeing. These thoughts are accompanied by an actual physical feeling of love that can be intentionally deepened and projected outward, especially toward those you may be worried about. If you are having trouble achieving this state, try thinking of a pet, small child, or anyone for whom you easily feel unconditional love, then spread this love to others and turn it inward on yourself. There are also many loving-kindness meditation tutorials available online.
Eat Well: Especially Fruits
Fear and stress stimulate adrenaline, which is a necessary tool for survival. But this powerful chemical in any more than short bursts is toxic and corrosive to the body. When you eat fruits throughout the day, you take a ton of stress off the adrenals, because the natural glucose fruits contain provides a quick burst of the basic fuel our brains and bodies need to function. Building up glucose reserves translates to more stable moods and higher resilience in times of adversity.
DURING ACUTE ATTACKS
Fear of the physical symptoms that accompany a panic attack can create a snowball effect that causes it to escalate. One basic strategy is to pull the mind out of this by occupying it with something else. You can stare at a fixed object (some people look in the mirror) or glance around the room and pick out five blue objects (or any little task that you have previously come up with.) You can also repeat a soothing mantra that activates your sense of faith, wellbeing and cosmic order.
If panic attacks are recurring, it can be helpful to have someone on standby for support. Ask a loved one who has a calming presence if they would be willing to change the settings on their phone so that you can call them even at odd hours. If no one is available, have numbers for hotlines already stored in your phone.
Standing outside with bare feet planted on the earth is a tangible method of rooting into stability. Lying down outside is even more grounding. Another technique is to pound the sides of your fists into your hips and thighs to bring yourself back down from the wild, up-in-the-air feeling that can come with acute anxiety. Ask yourself “Am I okay in this moment?” Chances are you will answer yes, because if not you wouldn’t have the luxury of asking!
Getting in touch with your breath and renormalizing it is the number one thing you can do to curb a panic attack. The breath is a unique link between the conscious mind and autonomic nervous system, which regulates activities you can’t control like heartbeat, digestion, and organ function. Breathing is the only body process you can either do intentionally or allow to happen on its own. That makes it an incredible tool to help your conscious mind reassert itself over the body that’s going out of control. Just being aware of the breath is good, but if there is a way you can calm the mind and body down by regulating the breath, perhaps by coordinating it with a movement, that’s even better. Experiment on your own or look up breathing techniques online.
Recognize that it is a panic attack and know that they are short-lived. Try to keep a part of your mind “outside” the situation to objectively observe it for what it really is. Remind yourself that in a few minutes this will pass and you are not actually in physical danger. (But call 911 if you need to.) Although panic attacks can feel frighteningly similar to cardiac events—and certainly this kind of stress isn’t good for you in the long term—you are not in immediate danger of dying! There are differences between the type of chest pain associated with panic attacks and the type associated with heart attacks. Over time, the confidence of having weathered previous episodes will help you handle them better instead of spiraling downward into fear that makes the symptoms worse. Coach yourself—affirm that you are a survivor and you will get through this!\