I recently read an article by Barbara Danza from Epoch Times Newspaper that helped me add a couple ideas to my anxiety tool-box. Of course, we all know a few things to begin with. Eat well, sleep well (easier said than done.) My favorite tool is breathing, as many of you know. It takes 5 deep breaths (making your exhale longer than your inhale) just to BEGIN to relax. This is so counter-intuitive. Your body would have you stay in the familiar worry rut of your brain, or watch another news report on how many are dying. Then you fuss at someone close to you and tell them how terrible everything is and find somebody to blame, like China or the President. It takes real thought and determination to resist and drink a glass of water or go out for a short walk or plank for 30 seconds and avoid that next TV news report. Stay with the things you can do to keep yourself and those around you more focused on the here and now. Play some favorite music. One of my friends turned on her favorite dance music from the 80’s, danced a bit and then did some housework to use the energy of her anxiety in a productive manner.
Here are a few tools Barbara added:
Stretch: Your shoulders get very tense just seeing the chaos around you on the TV. Stand and just stretch your arms, legs, back and hips often, throughout the day.
Hydrate: Do what you can to make a glass of water, hot or cold, more appealing to yourself and drink often. You have plenty of time to run to the bathroom as much as you need to any way while you are at home.
Clean Something: Organize and clean out your favorite space; garage, kitchen, bedroom, garden, computer room etc…
Nurture Your Spirit: Reconnect with your spirit, consider your big questions (What gives my life meaning?), study a spiritual discipline, read a psalm. Call a friend who can give you some ideas about things you can try while you are locked away in your house.
Find Gratitude: Studies abound on how doing this practice can alter your attitude. All you have to do is make a list of what you are grateful for (maybe this is a good time to get a journal started). Sometimes I am just grateful to wake up (list what is good about that), or see the sun (how does having sunshine or rain affect you?) or remember the good time I had yesterday. Make it simple and real.
Relax! It really will be okay.