Anxiety and stress can affect individuals of all ages. When one has experienced trauma or is going through times of great uncertainty, the potential for anxiety and stress may be increased. Learning some practical coping strategies can help to manage stress so that you can focus on healing and gain a more positive outlook.
Everyone is anxious on some level, as anxiety is the fear of the unknown and stress is made worse when we perceive little control over things that affect us directly. Both are our present reality.
There are some things you can do to cope better with the pandemic. By focusing on the things you can control, rather than on the things you can’t, you will feel a better sense of inner control and reduced anxiety and stress.
There are a few categories to begin to take better control which include: Thoughts, Behaviors, Feelings and Spirituality.
How we think about things directly impacts how we feel. By changing our thinking, we can change our whole experience. Here are some coping statements you can tell yourself as often as you can:
- The worst is behind, the best is ahead.
- I am grateful to have more time with my family and am heartened that they are safe and well now.
- The best minds and greatest resources across the globe are working on the problem. I choose to remain optimistic.
- Worry and worst-case forecasting doesn’t make anyone better prepared or make bad things not happen...it just makes us feel bad in the moment.
- We will resume our normal life when it is safe to do so and embrace and celebrate the things we may have taken for granted.
- I will do all I can to maintain and improve my health and immune responses by making good decisions that promote my wellbeing.
- I can tolerate this inconvenience and discomfort and uncertainty knowing it will not be this way forever.
Exercise reduces stress, improves mood and benefits immune response. In addition, there are other behaviors you can address to manage stress and anxiety.
- Supplements: Follow your healthcare providers recommendations, such as vitamin C, D, Zinc, probiotics etc.
- Diet: Many people stress eat foods that may be enjoyable in the short term but make you feel sluggish and inflamed in the long run. Make a decision to pay attention to how food makes you feel and choose foods that promote your health and well-being overall. You know what they are!
- Connections: In a time of social distancing, which goes against our nature as social animals, be creative in the way you connect to others. Imagine if this pandemic occurred before the technological boom of the internet?
- Increase your affectional and complimentary language and expressions to others: It feels good to make others feel good and it generates “good karma.”
- Make plans for things you are looking forward to doing when things open up again.
Trying to be strong and in control will make anxiety and stress worse.
- Share and express how you feel to others openly and honestly.
- Pay attention to how good it feels to have others validate your feelings.
- Know we share a common experience regardless of our race, religion, politics, or anything else.
It is not important whether or not you believe in God or any religion or religious teachings. What is important is that you make an effort to be concerned about the larger community and find ways to give to and belong with, the groups of people that matter to you.
- Focus on doing the right things for others.
"If you believe your anxiety is not abating or is severe and your functioning is impaired, please seek professional help. Seeking support in time of need is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it shows a lot of strength to ask for help."TERRAP Anxiety and Phobia Care continues to meet the needs of the community by providing specialized clinical care services virtually. For more information, contact Dr. Julian Herskowitz at (631) 549-8867 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Dr. Julian Herskowitz