With the Covid-19 virus situation still unfolding and everything else that’s going on the world right now, it’s very easy to let anxiety slide into panic as you think about the days to come. Variants spreading, schools reopening or staying online, travel plans on hold indefinitely, people getting lax on best practices (Don’t do that, people. Wear a mask, get vaccinated if you haven’t yet and are medically able.) – all this stuff can keep your nervous system in a constant state of alarm.
When you’ve lost someone you love, it’s very easy to wonder who – or what – you might lose next. It’s easy to feel a surge of chaos and fear. One thought leads to another, and before you know it, your brain is preparing for everyone you love to die in the next minute and/or the world to go even more sideways. Brains do that. Run off like spooked horses.
The answer to anxiety is not to tell yourself everything will be fine.
For many of us, we’ve already lived through the unlikely, and we know things don’t always work out fine. Even solid tools like mindfulness practices and breath-work can be counter-effective in calming anxiety, especially if trauma is part of your history.
You cannot just “breathe and know that everything will work itself out.”
So what can you do?
Help yourself get grounded:
Remember that calming anxiety is not about making sure bad things don’t happen. It’s about making THIS VERY MOMENT have a little ease and space around it. It’s about helping your body and your mind calm down, so that you are able to make informed decisions about what you need to do.
Second, experiment with some tools to help your brain:
In acute anxiety (aka: freaking out) try something like this: look around and count all the orange things you see, or, run through the alphabet, coming up with 3 words for each letter (with a free pass for the letter x). Choose mundane and ordinary things to count or name.
It may seem silly, but focusing on something outside your body helps your mind relax. It calls those spooked horses back into the warmth of the stable.Remember that calming your anxiety is not about making sure bad things don’t happen. It’s about making THIS MOMENT, this very moment, have a little ease and space around it. Click To Tweet
Get vaccinated if you aren’t yet and are medically able, wear a mask, follow best public health practices, and help your nervous system calm down: one moment at a time.
There are more tools for managing anxiety in my new grief journal,
How to Carry What Can’t Be Fixed.
Find it wherever you get your books.
How about you? How are you managing your anxiety during this extra stressful and uncertain time?
Your book saved me in early grief. Especially the stuff about anxiety. I am 8 months out now and wondering when I will stop feeling like I spend most of my time managing my grief and become interested in my life again?