For weeks now we’ve all been talking about avoiding something that is very contagious.
But it’s not just the virus that is contagious right now.
So is panic.
You can be having a perfectly fine day and then… you read something online, hear something on the news, or from a friend, and all of a sudden you notice you are feeling anxious again.
Remember that it is up to you to choose how to direct your own energy. It may not always feel like it but it is true. So when you feel that anxiety escalating, you need strategies to short-circuit the anxiety and get back to a feeling of calm and being in your body–rather than taking flight.
Here are a few suggestions for how you can restore the calm:
- Ground yourself… literally. Kick-off your shoes and put feet on the floor, or even better, on the earth. Focus your attention on feeling your feet on the ground. Doing so will get you out of your head and connect you with your body.
- Breathe. Place your hands on your lower abdomen and focus on taking long, slow, deep breaths in and out–feeling your abdomen expand and then empty. This abdominal or “belly breathing” is one of the best strategies for calming and centering your mind and body.
- Move your body. Go outside and take a walk. Turn on some music and dance. Find an instructional yoga video on YouTube. Get your blood flowing. The physical movement releases endorphins that your brain needs right now.
- Distract yourself with something that makes you laugh. Watch a sitcom or a funny movie. Go down the rabbit hole of funny animal videos on YouTube. Search for a comedy special on Netflix. Laughter is good for the soul, especially now.
One final suggestion…
Any time you have the opportunity to show kindness to someone else, do it. Whether it’s a friend, a neighbor, or a stranger in a mask at the grocery store, we can all use a lot more kindness in the world.
And after all, anxiety, fear and panic are not the only things that are contagious. Kindness and feelings of calm are too.