You wake up and immediately are bombarded with headlines, new stories, and conversations surrounding the panic people are feeling in relation to the current Global Health Pandemic. What types of feelings are you experiencing? Intense worry, stress, or fear? How are you responding to these feelings? These are normal feelings that come about when we just do not have all of the answers that we would like to have. However, these feelings of worry and uncertainty also contribute to panic and a sense of losing control. The purpose of this article is to provide you with five ways in which you can minimize and manage the worry you may be experiencing, as well as helping those around you to feel supported and heard. These small steps you can take—right now—will put you in the driver’s seat of managing your worry:

1. Take deep, meaningful breaths

One small way to increase your resilience in the face of worry is to take control of the one aspect that means you are alive—breathing. As you are reading this, let’s do a breathing exercise. Note how you are feeling before doing the breathing exercise—anxious or worried? Let’s begin: deep breath in through your nose for four seconds, hold breath for seven seconds letting the air fill your belly, and release the air through your mouth for eight seconds. How do you feel now? 

2. Limit your news and media intake

Just what the tip says—limit your excessive and consistent news intake. Stay informed about what is going on in the world, but set boundaries on what media you are ingesting. One way to do this is to set an intention to read or listen to recaps of important updates from reputable agencies such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). P.S. keep on the lookout for positive news stories you are seeing—did you know that scientists have figured out how the virus impacts human cells? This is a major progress towards treating the virus (Live Science). 

3. Acknowledge your feeling, then find a productive activity to focus on

When we are feeling stress and anxiety, it can seem impossible to do anything else in that moment but feel those feelings. Take this as a challenge—after completing a breathing exercise, find one activity you love to do to focus on for the next 10 minutes. Do you like to run? Go for a run—did you know that incorporating a little exercise each day can help increase your white blood cell count (the cells that help fight off bad bacteria and viruses)? Find activities that you enjoy and can encourage you to divert your attention, which helps to minimize and manage worry. 

4. Practice Self-Compassion

One great way to combat anxiety is compassion for self. When we are experiencing intense worry or stress, it can be hard to focus on and be kind to ourselves. Try combating the negative thoughts you may be telling yourself in your head, by introducing at least one positive thought into your mindset. Try telling yourself a mantra of sorts—this could be anything that makes you feel good. Here is one mantra centered on facing anxiety created by James Philip to try: “Things are not being done to me, they are just happening”. Try repeating this mantra when you begin to experience the pangs of worry and recognize how you are feeling before and after repeating the mantra. Repeat as often as needed.

5. Gratitude Practice

Did you know that gratitude improves our limbic system—which is responsible for regulating essential human behaviors—and can improve sleeping patterns, which indirectly influences the reduction of stress and anxiety? Take this as a challenge to write down three things that you are grateful for—they could be small or big. Sometimes writing down that you woke up and got out of bed is enough to be grateful for. Recognize what you are grateful for, what you have, and what is around you, and notice how acknowledging these aspects of your life can improve your overall mood and wellbeing. 

To Sum Up:

It is more than okay to feel nervous or worried about the current state of the world. But what are these feelings serving you other than stress and more worry? Let’s incorporate healthy coping responses to these feelings through five small ways that help to manage and minimize your worry. For example, the MindShine App takes the guesswork out of your progress and helps you in applying these tips into overall practice—from managing your stress, to a deeper practice of gratitude, or guidance on applying positive psychology techniques, and so much more. Waking up and powering through your day is already an act of courage and bravery. Your wellness and overall health is impacted by your actions—try incorporating some that focus on things that bring you joy. You deserve it!