Some theorists say that fear, such as during the pandemic, is the toughest emotion to regulate because it has a tendency to hijack the brain, so when people — either here in Central Indiana or virtually anywhere — get scared, they tend to go into fight, flight or freeze mode.
Hoosiers Managing Their Anxiety During the Pandemic
As you talk to your family, neighbors and coworkers about Covid-19, you will hear lots of anxieties about a plethora of circumstances that a person generates to get prepared for the worst. However, when people invent their own scenarios, it can lead to catastrophizing which is never good for the human psyche.
Visualization can be extremely helpful in decreasing anxiety. Imagine that you could move your anxiety away with your hand or put your fears in a box. Take a fear that is directly tied to Coronavirus and visualize how you might put that fear in a compartment, leaving it closed until the actual event occurs. Compartmentalizing feelings, especially anxiety, is a very helpful tool, because it teaches you that although the emotion needs to be felt, it also can be managed and kept in perspective.
Being mindful or staying in the moment keeps the understandable anxiety in perspective. Fearful emotions occur naturally, but oftentimes need to be managed. You may spend days, worrying about situations that have not even occurred. This creates anticipatory anxiety and it robs you from enjoying the good things that are simultaneously happening during the Pandemic.
“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.”
Another simple way to change a feeling is to link it to a positive thought. The good news is that you cannot have two feelings at one time, so if you feel anxiety, you can change that feeling to a feeling of confidence if it accompanies a confident thought.
Here are some examples of how you can slow down, reduce, or alter your feelings by attaching a strengthening thought:
Your husband’s company is being downsized because of the lockdown. He comes home on a daily basis complaining that he fears he will lose his job. You begin to worry insurmountably about your future. You are experiencing anticipatory anxiety.
Imagine that you take that worry out of your mind by writing down your greatest fears. You put that paper into a special jewelry box and you close the box. You tell yourself that this virus is not going to rob you of your serenity. Once the lockdown is over, your husband will still have his job, or he will be able to find other employment because he is totally competent and capable of providing for your family.
You will decrease the fear because of the increased faith, and you will be able to breathe again. Replacing fear with faith allows you to feel more confidence which increases your own personal strength.
It is important to take the necessary precautions to stay safe, but there is no reason to imagine the worst and feel miserable in the process. You have the power to manage your thoughts by visualizing the best possible outcome.
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