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3.23.2020

7 ways to deal with anxiety one day at a time


7ways-to-deal-with-the-covid-19-coronavirus-crisis-mental-health-encouraging-how-to-cope-tips

7ways-to-deal-with-the-covid-19-coronavirus-crisis-mental-health-encouraging-how-to-cope-tips

It is safe to say that even prior to this COVID-19 contagion, we live in times of anxiety, critical times hard to deal with. And now, compounded with this coronavirus pandemic, everyday life for many of us has been disrupted abruptly in ways we might not have imagined and will forever be changed one way or another. And sad to say, in just a short time this disease has taken the lives of thousands. It would be an understatement to say society as a whole is facing a good amount of anxiety right now and it even is affecting those who may not have ever dealt with this type of can-be-crippling disorder. Anxiety at times can feel like a monster that’s living in our body somewhere between our heart and our belly that robs us of sleep, snarls and tears our inside and tries to take over our life. And even when we do our best to take it one-day-at-a-time, sometimes it can feel like several days hits us at once. There is no doubt that anxiety is going to be a daily struggle in the unseeable future. The key is to not give up the fight.

7ways-to-deal-with-the-covid-19-coronavirus-crisis-mental-health-encouraging-how-to-cope-tips

7ways-to-deal-with-anxiety-and-the-covid-19-coronavirus-crisis-mental-health-encouraging-how-to-cope-tips

Even though I have never dealt with crippling anxiety like some of my friends and most people do, I have my fair share of feeling anxious at times in my life. I mean, let’s face it, I live in the same chaotic world as everyone else. However, due to having grown up in an unconventional home without parental protection, love or nurturing and dealing with one crisis after another at a very young age with feelings and wounds left unattended; over the years, I have learned how to navigate through life and cope with such negative feelings. You see, one part of coping with anxiety is to recognize what it does. It diverts your mind and distracts you with so many doubts - robbing you of mental clarity, keeping you in a vicious cycle of worrying. Because of our imperfect nature, we tend to bring our worries from yesterday, the "would-haves, could-haves, and should-haves, bundle them with our imagined worries about tomorrow: the 'what-if's to today." But when you ask yourself: how often have I worried myself sick about what might happen tomorrow, only to find that tomorrow wasn't nearly as bad as I feared it would be. Overthinking and overanalyzing our problems can shut us down. 

So then, what's the antidote to stop being anxious? Today, I would like to share seven ways that have helped me to not completely crumble when under stress and/or feeling anxious:

7ways-to-deal-with-anxiety-and-the-covid-19-coronavirus-crisis-mental-health-encouraging-how-to-cope-tips

1. Take One Day At a Time. Granted, it is normal and proper to be concerned about our material needs and the welfare of our loved ones. But we want to avoid undue worry - an excessive fear of tomorrow that can take the peace out of living today. I do my best to not waste time and energy worrying about the aforementioned above with all the "couldas, wouldas,shouldas". It's better off to devote our efforts into what we can in the present moment of today to move forward. As horrific as things can be at times... thanks to resilience as beautifully made creatures, we generally can adapt well to life-changing and stressful situations. And many times what feels like the end is often the beginning.

2. Curtail Your News Consumption. I've never been one to watch any news. I already know it's all bad. It's good to keep informed but being balanced in the amount of news reports we consume is of utmost importance, in order to reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue, thus allowing us to sleep better and feel less drained. Which is crucial in keeping our immune system up to fight illness.

3. Share Your Feelings With a Trusted Friend. Back in my younger days had I not had the mentors that came into my life during my most crucial years, I don't think I would have been here today typing this. So, sharing your feelings and talking things over with an understanding, non-judgmental friend or family member can help lighten things up a bit and possibly make you see things differently. Having that interchange alone can promote emotional healing. Sometimes, just a simple kind word, a sympathetic thought even hearing a simple phrase like, " I hear you" can do so much good in unburdening oneself.

4. Think of Others Not Just Of Yourself. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I'm here to tell you that there is for a certainty more happiness in giving than there is in receiving. I grew up with a mom who always thought of others which I seemed to have inherited, thankfully. A gift I didn't fully appreciate until my adolescent years way after she was long gone. In the thick of my tender years facing crisis, my mentors would suggest I go help the elderly neighbors, mentor my peers and volunteer my time doing something good for others, which I did and have not stopped since. Not only does thinking of others help you to forget about your own problems, but the amount of joy it brings you to see the glitter in someone else's eyes from your act of being selfless and kind is just indescribable. Honestly, there's no amount of money that can evoke that sense of deep satisfaction. It's been said, that love is practical. So, make a list of people you could help in a practical way while in isolation - even if it's just a matter of giving them a listening ear as mentioned above by means of a phone call.

5. Prayer. As a child who grew up in dire need of direction in my life, praying was and still is one of the main things that I have found to give me real peace whenever I get overwhelmed with life. Having seen its powerful evidence in my own personal life, I recognize praying is far more than a religious routine or a type of mental therapy as some may think. So, making prayer a part of our life yields so many benefits. Peace of mind for one, especially given the times we're living in. In case you're curious, here are some of my favorite scriptures that I reread often during times like this... Philippians 4:6,7, Psalm 37:5, Psalm 65:2, Psalm 145:18, 1 John 5:14.

6. Writing. Another thing that has kept me going my whole life is writing. Whether we're recording our joys or sadness, writing down our feelings not only helps us to reflect but give us the opportunity to unscramble thoughts in our mind, thus giving us that much needed release. I've found so many benefits to writing. One of the greatest advantages is its ability to help us know ourselves, work out solutions to problems. It also has been a great alternative to when I don't have anyone to talk to and a helpful tool in dealing with emotional pain. I find expressing myself in writing helps me to focus on the real issues and put them in perspective. And if you're not sure how to even begin or what to write, you can start with just these five things.  

7. Exercise Patience. Not knowing exactly how and when things are going to get somewhat remediated, we find ourselves wondering about so many questions probably one of the top ones being - how long will these shutdowns be? etc... etc... Again, as scary and tiring it is waiting for things to get better... the hard reality is things are currently out of our control. The question at this point is what can help us during these difficult times to endure it? This is the time to be patient. For one, it will help us to avoid retaliating, being unkind and thoughtless to others because we're suffering. I specifically use the word "exercise" because unfortunately, patience is not one of those qualities that many of us have especially during very difficult situations. It requires continued effort as one would put into physical exercise to develop. We can compare our situation to that of a farmer. Even though a farmer works hard to plant his crop, he cannot control the weather or how fast the plants grow. He needs to wait patiently for "the precious fruit of the earth." In a similar way, there are many things that we cannot control as we wait right now. Like the farmer, we need to just wait patiently. Which involves enduring difficult situations while still maintaining a positive attitude. 

What about you? What helps you deal with difficult times? Please share in the comments below. It might be greatly encouraging to someone else and me. 


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