7 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety and COVID-19

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1. Be honest with yourself

The first step to taking control of your mind will be to recognize and acknowledge the thoughts that plague you. When you begin to feel anxious, take a moment to recognize the source of your feelings. Ask yourself, “What is it that I am concerned about at this moment?”

2. Challenge distressing thoughts

Challenge the assumptions you are making. For example, just because someone in your vicinity is coughing and wearing no mask, this doesn’t mean they have COVID-19. It is easy to react quickly to thoughts fueled by anxiety, but if we take a moment to examine the validity of your thoughts, we will often find there is nothing to feel anxious about.

Then you can challenge your thoughts by considering all the evidence and looking at your mindset from different perspectives.

3. Look on the bright side

You can also consider reframing your thoughts and focusing more on the positive. For example, if you find yourself stuck in your home and feeling bad about it. You can change this to thinking about how safe and secure you are at home and commit yourself to having the best possible time during your isolation. If you feel swamped with anxieties over your health, you can realize that you can’t predict the future but you can take every preventative measure to ensure that your health is not threatened in any way.

4. Focus on what you can control

Take the time to invest your energy wisely. Channel all that energy into the things that lie within your locus of control. For example, you can control things like keeping your distance from others and keeping your hands clean at all times. But other things can’t be controlled, like who is or is not wearing a mask, whether the government should get involved and how many people are at risk of contracting the virus.

Take a moment to ask yourself what lies within your circle of power and commit to maintaining your focus on this alone. After all, there is nonsense in fretting about things you can’t control.

5. Practice mindfulness by being aware and intentional

When you feel the distress taking over you, take a moment to focus on your breathing. It is common for people to over breathe when feeling anxious. It can help to become fully aware of the breathing and observe it momentarily before making your breaths deeper and longer. Try breathing in to a count of 4 and then exhaling to a count of 6.

Take a moment to ground yourself in the moment. Do a quick run through the sensations you are experiencing. Remember that you are more than capable of tolerating whatever mental chatter is occurring and can remind yourself of this by repeating an affirmation or even a reminder “I am Fine”, “This is momentary” or “I can handle this.”

6. Take action through value-driven behaviors

If you have a set of values, you will build confidence by exercising them. If you have a strong family value, you can make that phone call to talk with your aunt and check up on how she is doing. If you have a benevolent and altruistic value, consider volunteering your time and skills.

7. Start a gratitude journal

Nothing engenders a feeling of happiness like a grateful heart. The more positively you view your life the more positive you will be. It starts easily with a habit of recording the Top 3 things you are most happy about on each day. Furthermore, being thankful and aware of the positive makes you a better leader.

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