Right now many of us are feeling overwhelmed, worried and concerned about the uncertainty of the global health scare, and that makes a lot of sense. Sometimes feeling as though you’re not alone in your anxiety can be helpful; it brings us closer in spirit to our communities, it motivates us to support each other in new ways and it reminds us of our humanity. However, this increased anxiety can have harmful effects as well. To help us all navigate though these confusing times, below are a few helpful hints to help manage our fears and to remember our hopes.
Social Distancing from Social Media and News
Many of us are relying on social media sites for information and to connect with friends, family and the outside world. With the outbreak of the virus, there is a constant onslaught of information that may be very overwhelming. When possible, try to take a break from monitoring these sights. It is okay to disconnect. Additionally, remember to evaluate the sources of your information. Finding reliable sources of news may help to mitigate some of the fears spread by false reports.
Things in Your Control vs.Things Out of Your Control
This idea is something that I often explore with my clients through any sort of struggle that invites anxiety. It can be helpful to determine specific things that are within your control versus the myriad of things that are out of your control. The image below has some good suggestions.
Keep or Begin a Mindfulness Practice
If the idea of sitting cross legged in a silent room while trying to forget your thoughts sounds intimidating, you are not alone…it does for me too. Instead of trying to jump into meditation, try incorporating a grounding technique when feeling stressed. Grounding techniques encourage us to pay attention to our senses and environment rather than our ruminating thoughts and worries. One of my favorites is the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 technique.
Take a few deep breaths
Now notice 5 things you can see…
Followed by 4 things you can hear…
Now 3 things you can touch…
2 things you can smell…
And 1 thing you can taste.
End with a few more deep breaths.
Notice how you’re feeling and practice this technique whenever needed. Remember, this is temporary.
Julie Bond, LAMFT