Feeling like we are in control of something helps us feel safe, helps us make sense of the confusing world around us, and make it predictable. It calms anxiety.
There are times, however, that roughly confront us with the fact that we actually have very little control over “bigger things” that happen to us – such as the outbreak of coronavirus disease. We all react differently to this confrontation. Some suppress their strong feelings trying to act as if nothing is happening, some are panicking, and many people are overwhelmed with anxiety.
Though we cannot predict the duration of the outcome of this crisis, what we can do is to refocus on the behaviors and processes in our control, with the effects that we can predict and measure. This will, as a result, lower the anxiety these uncertain times carry.
Daria, our Coach and Nobel facilitator, provides you with ways to manage overwhelming emotions in the following video and the text below.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help – book a FREE call with Daria here.
5 Self-Empowerment Tips to Help You Calm Anxiety
Here are 5 tips on what you can do that will empower you and help you shift your focus to things you CAN do in these times.
1. Physical health and Breathing strategies
Even though we are on lockdown, it doesn’t mean we should be sitting in front of the TV all the time. It’s not good for our health. So here are some tips to help with maintaining your physical health:
- Try to sleep for at least 7 hours.
- Eat healthy and avoid eating out of boredom.
- Control your coffee intake. If you drink more than 4 cups per day, consider cutting it back.
- Exercise as much as you can. Although it may be not safe to go for a run in a park you can be creative with exercising. For example, cleaning your windows and vacuuming can be very good cardio exercises!
Focus on your breath. There is a Navy SEALs technique 4-2-4 (inhale, hold, exhale). Play the ocean sounds or the wind sounds and try to sync the breath with. Plus, try to make every exhale a second longer than the previous and extend the pauses in between inhales and exhales. Notice the moment in between exhale and every new inhale. Celebrate that!
Focus on having at least 5 minutes per day only to focus on your breathing and practice calming yourself down by using this technique every time you get emotional.
2. Observing the feelings
Be mindful of how you feel. Understand it. Be kind to yourself. It is normal to feel anxious, afraid, angry, sad, surprised, and overwhelmed. It’s ok not to know what to do.
We all have the capacity to face difficult events and carry on. Understanding and properly naming your emotions is a first step towards developing emotional resilience, the capacity to develop strategies that help you manage when facing situations you find stressful and recover from them.
Here is an example of how to do it. Start your own Mindfulness meditation & Journaling.
Start from the curious stance: What emotions or thoughts do I have here? When do they show up? What do they look like? Do they have any triggers that I notice? Write all those things down. Connect them with events in your life. See if there are any patterns.
3. Stay connected
Physical distancing means that now more than ever we need to have extra emotional support. Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress.
You can maintain these connections by texting or chatting with people on social media. Use this opportunity to reconnect with your loved once and help them. We are all in the same situation.
4. Be informed, but not too informed
You may find it useful to develop more analytical approaches as you follow news reports. Here are some ways to do it:
- Try to verify the information that you receive from your family and friends.
- Limit your daily exposure to reports relating to counts – how many newly infected, or death in which country.
- Do not consume the news the first thing in the morning and right before sleep.
- Limit the conversations with family and friends that are COVID-19-related.
Remind yourself that most people who contract COVID-19 will only experience mild symptoms. What you can do is to make sure to take the necessary precautions to keep your family and loved ones healthy.
5. Focus on what you CAN control
Shift your focus solely on the things you can control, rather than focusing on the things that are out of your scope. Focus on:
- How you react to this new reality if you follow the physical distancing guidelines?
- What is your exposure to news and how do you identify the news from unreliable sources?
- How kind and understanding you are when communicating with others and how kind are you to yourself?
- How well you take care of yourself?
- What are your boundaries in social media use?
- How do you organize your time?
As a bonus creative idea, make a diagram of the things that are under your control. Go back to it every time you get more anxious and check with yourself – Do I have any control over it and if not, remind yourself what are the activities you can actively engage in. This will help you gain more clarity, be calmer and organize your time more productively.
Let us leave you off with one information. We as humans have an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. We can even thrive under adversities. Don’t forget that. You are much more resilient than you think. Put that capacity in good use!
Be safe and stay at home.
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with feelings of sadness or anxiety contact Daria or another coach for a FREE consultation.