Anxiety and Stress Management
In view of the current situation, we would like to offer some basic guidelines and tips on managing anxiety in these uncertain times.
Madeleine Mihalich, one of our team members here at Across Counseling, offers this explanation of some of the basic tools for reducing anxiety as an introduction to our resource section for anxiety and stress reduction.
“If you are experiencing extra anxiety during these ever changing times, you aren’t alone. Covid-19 has us all struggling with more stress, uncertainty and change than usual. It has a lot of us wondering how to tend to our feelings and how to stay calm during an extremely challenging time.
As we try to find various ways to navigate anxiety about Covid-19, a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh continues to pop into my mind: “When crowded Vietnamese refugee boats met with storms or pirates, if everyone panicked all would be lost. But if even one person on the boat remained calm and centered, it was enough. It showed the way for everyone to survive.”
So how can we calm our nerves and quell anxieties?
Breath: The first step we can take when we are feeling our anxiety is to calm our sympathetic nervous system: A simple way to do this is with long, intentional breaths. Take at least 3 deep breaths, counting to five with the inhale, and counting to five on the exhale. Notice tensions being released.
Senses: Use your five senses (touch, see, hear, taste, smell) to notice what is around you in the moment. What do you see? What do you hear? Can you taste anything? Touch something near you and describe it to yourself. Can you smell anything? By doing this, we can come back to our bodies in the present moment.
Presence: In times like these, it is easy to go down the path of the “what-ifs” and get lost in our narratives and projections. Create a space and time designated specifically for news and media. The rest of the day be where your feet are. Ask yourself – what am I getting from constantly looking through the sad and frightening stories all day?
Non-attachment: If you are experiencing negative thoughts, notice them and feel them, and then let them go. Think of your thoughts as a twig in a river: you can notice that it is there, and you can also watch it pass. You can feel fear, sadness and frustration, but avoid attaching them to your own narrative, this ultimately leads to suffering.”
I hope you find this helpful as a support to supplement any therapy you may have available to you.
The resources below are ones that our team and I think you will also find useful as we go through this stressful and anxiety producing time.
Director, Across Counseling
Coronavirus Sanity Guide - free resources provided by Ten Percent Happier. Also offering free 6-month subscriptions to the app for health care workers & volunteers. Email for access
Tips for parents on coping with COVID - talking to your children about COVID-19, suggestions for "distant socializing", coping skills, and more