“I feel like I am going crazy”.
“My mind is always on and I am tired of it”.
“I don’t know what will happen to us and this is something that kills me inside”.
“I am worried about what is going to happen to us”.
If you have those thoughts and feel that way, guess what? You are not alone!
Difficult or disappointing things happen to everyone time to time. In the last few weeks, we all got hit by unpredictable and inexperienced changes in our lives surrounding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Everyday you have been facing issues that make you feel on edge and take your peace and confidence away. It is because no one is certain about what is going to happen to them in an hour or the next day or next week.
What is a worry and how do you manage it effectively so that it won’t affect your relationship and your personal life?
Everyone feels worried sometimes. It is okay to feel worried, but frequently it feels that a lot of the worries don’t make sense which make you more worried. You can think of a worry as a monster which doesn’t really exist but takes all of your energy, present joy, and assurance away from you. It just goes on and on. You may notice that a worry can cause you to feel sick inside, give you lack of sleep, and decrease pleasure in intimacy. It can give you a headache, make your stomach hurt, and cause your heart to pound.
A worry can be a specific thought that makes you feel scared. For example, “What is going to happen to us tomorrow?” It can also be more of an emotion, like getting a fluttery, sick feeling in your stomach every time you think about something that you are quite sure is frustrating to you.
Well, enough about bad news and worries. Now, let’s see what you can do to manage your worries and give more space for positive thoughts on your mind.
Here are some tips that can help you manage your anxiety:
Worry Time: Worry time is the time to say whatever you want to say about your worries and about your thoughts that contribute to your worries. Here’s a helpful tip, especially if you are if you are a person who likes to plan and organize your day. Set some time aside in your schedule for WORRY TIME. You can choose a certain time every day for Worry Time and then verbalize whatever worries you have. Choosing a time will help you take control over your anxiety. There should be no distractions (e.g, no TV or electronic devices on). The most important rule about Worry Time: you need to make an agreement with yourselves that if a worry bothers you at any other time of day, you won’t spend time thinking about it or talking about it until the time you have commit to.Keep reminding yourself that you can only think about the worries again during Worry Time and try to stay busy with other activities.
Talking back to Worries: At first, you might find this activity hard to do it because some worries may pop up over and over again, but guess what? There is something you can do to deal with these distractions. Have you ever been in a situation where you talked back? And spoke up for yourself, even when you didn’t like what was going on? Imagine talking back to a worry (the harmless monster) when it is just trying challenge your ability to take control over it. Again, standing up to the worry is a great thing to do because it makes you more powerful and at the same time it makes the worry a little weaker.
Re-setting your mind and body: There are two ways to re-set your system: physical activity and relaxation. The best way to do this is to get involved in something active and fun. Based on studies, physical activity can help improve mood and promote muscles to relax. It also helps you know that you are doing something for yourself, which leads to an increase in self-confidence and positive self-talk. And last, but not least, physical activity helps the body release endorphins (a natural mood enhancer) and facilitates more restful sleep.
Remember: “Stop doing physical activity when you are feeling tired. Pain doesn’t equal gain.”
Drink plenty of water when you are active.
Plan ahead. Commit yourself to a regular time and activity.
Physical activity by itself rarely is enough for managing moods.
It is an important component of self –care.
Relaxation Exercises: What do we know about relaxation? You might be familiar with the phrase, “just take a deep breath”.You also, at one point or another, were probably tired of hearing this because you know it wouldn’t work for you. When your mind is fully stimulating with a worry, then you might notice that your brain and your body equally feel exhausted. Here are a few relaxation techniques that can help you to feel better:
Find a comfortable position, then begin by tensing and relaxing your muscle.
Keep your body tight while counting to 5 in your head.
Then relax your whole body by letting your muscles loosen.
Now, you are ready to take a deep breath through your nose and out through your mouth.
As you breathe in,
Feel the calm, cool air filling your body,
As you breathe out feel the tension leaving your body.
Don’t rush; try to stay in the moment while you are breathing.
Grounding your Surrounding: Described 3 objects that you see in the room in great detail (name them, describe their colors, textures, etc.). Then, describe 3 sounds that you hear. Now, choose an object that you can touch. Feel the object’s texture, temperature, color, and shape.
Ground with positive: Name or describe your favorite television shows, people, music, or sounds. Hear and visualize them in your head. For instance, you can choose one of your most special memories (a happy memory). Now, try to remember as many details as you can. Where were you? What were you wearing? Who was next to you? What could you see, hear, and smell? How did you feel? Share your positive memory with someone who you can be open with and feel safe with.
Stress is a normal body response that helps the body deal with day-to-day challenges by promoting energy, focusing attention, and improving physical and cognitive performance. However, if you feel like your stress level is too high and attacking your daily functioning and relationship, I will be more than happy to guide you in finding effective therapeutic strategies that would reduce your anxiety and improve your life.
Hi, I'm Nadia Padurets, therapist for individuals and couples at Love Heal Grow Counseling.
I help hard-working and stressed-out couples and individuals cope with the chaos of life so they can have more joy, fulfillment, and love.
You can read more about me or schedule an appointment here: About Nadia