Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, a lot of worries, doubts, and anxieties have crept into almost everyone’s minds. Some have lost their jobs and loved ones, some are struggling to cater for themselves and their families. Nobody expected this to happen but that’s life for us.
The sad truth is; worries, doubts, and anxieties are a normal part of life. It’s natural to worry about your jobs, unpaid bills, etc. But “normal” worry becomes excessive when it’s persistent and uncontrollable.
Constant worrying can take a toll on your emotional and physical health. Here are 5 tips that can help you calm your worried mind and ease anxiety;
Tip 1: Create a daily “worry” period
During this period, it will be hard and tough for you to be productive with your tasks and also in your daily activities especially when you give room for anxiety and also dwell on it. Rather than trying to stop or get rid of an anxious thought, give yourself permission to have it, but put off dwelling on it until later.
- Create a “worry period.”: Assigned a set time and a particular place in your house for worrying. It might be anywhere, your bedroom, living room. During this “worry period”, feel free to worry about whatever it is on your mind early enough that it won’t make you anxious right before bedtime. The rest of the day, however, is a worry-free zone.
PS: This “worry period” shouldn’t exceed 20 minutes
- Write down your worries: Anytime an anxious thought creeps into your head, write it down immediately and then go on about your day. There’s no need for you to think about it immediately as you already have a set time to do that; your “worry period”. Writing down your worries and anxieties is much harder work than simply thinking them, so your worries are more likely to lose their power.
- Go over your “worry list” during the worry period: If you are bothered about your “worry list”, allow yourself to worry about it, but only for the amount of time you’ve specified for your worry period. And if your thoughts don’t seem important any more, simply cut your worry period short and enjoy the rest of your day.
Tip 2: Distinguish between solvable and unsolvable worries
Running over an issue in your head diverts you from your feelings and makes you feel like you’re getting something done. But worrying and problem solving are two different things.
No matter how much time you spend lingering over worst-case scenarios, you’re no more prepared to deal with them should they actually happen
Tip 3: Interrupt the worry cycle
You may feel like you’re going insane, or going to wear out under the heaviness of this anxiety. In any case, there are steps you can take presently to interrupt all those anxious thoughts and give yourself a time out from persistent worrying.
- Try exercising: Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment because it releases endorphins which relieve tension and stress, boost energy, and enhance your sense of well-being. Even more importantly, by really focusing on how your body feels as you move, you can interrupt the constant flow of worries running through your head.
- Try meditating: Meditation works by switching your focus from worrying about the future or dwelling on the past to what’s happening right now. By being fully engaged in the present moment, you can interrupt the endless loop of negative thoughts and worries.
- Try deep breathing: When you worry, you become anxious and breathe faster, often leading to further anxiety. But by practicing deep breathing exercises, you can calm your mind and quiet negative thoughts.
Tip 4: Talk about your worries
Keeping worries to yourself only causes them to build up until they seem overwhelming. But saying them out loud can often help you to make sense of what you’re feeling and put things in perspective. If your fears are unwarranted, verbalizing them can expose them for what they are—needless worries. And if your fears are justified, sharing them with someone else can produce solutions that you may not have thought of alone.
So, build a strong support system and also know who to avoid when you’re feeling anxious
Tip 5: Practice mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness to stay focused on the present is a simple concept, but it takes time and regular practice to reap the benefits. At first, you’ll probably find that your mind keeps wandering back to your worries. Try not to get frustrated. Each time you draw your focus back to the present, you’re reinforcing a new mental habit that will help you break free of the negative worry cycle.
- Acknowledge and observe your worries: Don’t try to ignore, fight, or control them like you usually would. Instead, simply observe them as if from an outsider’s perspective, without reacting or judging.
- Let your worries go: Notice that when you don’t try to control the anxious thoughts that pop up, they soon pass, like clouds moving across the sky. It’s only when you engage your worries that you get stuck.
- Stay focused on the present: Pay attention to the way your body feels, the rhythm of your breathing, your ever-changing emotions, and the thoughts that drift across your mind. If you find yourself getting stuck on a particular thought, bring your attention back to the present moment.