She was anxious. Worrying about current events. What if my parents get sick? Where is the economy leading? How can I support positive change? Questions over questions spinning in her head. Which lead her to be lost and stressed.
I tried to soothe her. “Take a breath and calm down. I understand. A lot is going on in the world right now. It makes us suffer from overwhelm and anxious. But keeping cool and handling all our responsibilities is more important than ever.” Feeling lost is nothing unusual nowadays–quite the contrary.
Until now, 2020 was devastating for many people all over the world. But why not try to make something good out of it. A positive experience, an awakening, a shift for the better? Here are a few recommendations on keeping calm when you are distressed.
1. Breathe deeply
Breathing is one of the best calming methods when fear hits. This works instantly. Your focus shifts and it helps to manage stress. You can practice where you are. Or catch some fresh air. Inhale, then exhale slowly and fully. Repeat this four or five times until you are at ease.
2. Take care of yourself
When stressed, we forget to watch out for ourselves. We run around, trying to get everything done. Working from home, homeschooling kids, etc. With no room left to fill out own cup. This behavior leads us to being more stretched. Soon we are trapped in a downward spiral.
We need to break this pattern. Even if you do not have time. Even if a lot is going on. Take a few minutes to focus on yourself every day. This can be the breathing exercise from above. As well as meditating, or taking a hot shower. Something small that you can fit into your routine.
3. Reduce screen time
This is another source of anxiety. Because of two reasons. On one hand, it is the sheer amount we spend. On the other, it is the information we absorb.
Do you catch yourself checking your phone anytime you got a few seconds? When you wake up. Every night in bed. Any free minute you have. Does that sound familiar? What do you read or watch on your cell? Social media? The news? Nothing wrong with staying informed. But to consume too much will not help you.
Instead of reaching to the screen you can breathe deeply. Repeat affirmations. Or meditate for one minute. During the day make it a practice to relax rather than grabbing your phone.
4. Practice gratitude
Gratitude helps us to shift our focus on the little treasures. Things we often take for granted. Be honest with yourself. Do you ever stop and how grateful you are? For your family, friends, health. Or ordinary things like running hot water, the warmth of the sun, or your home.
These small miracles have the power to create a warm fuzzy feeling. Focus on two or three of them. This will help you to gain peace of mind.
5. Be present
Our brain loves to run wild. Ponder about what could happen. Ask what if this or that happened? Fantasize about the worst outcomes. And how it will affect us. Our brain tries to keep us safe. Safe from whatever may hit us. But this has the opposite effect. We cannot figure out the next reasonable steps when we are in a state of fear.
Instead of focusing on the future, stay present. Look at what is in front of you right now. What actions will assure the best results?
What will you do?
Next time you feel out of control, what will you do to calm down? There are a variety of solutions to help you. Choose one and do it. I recommend using at least one of these techniques. Remember, knowledge is potential power. Actual power lies in taking action.
How do you want to recall 2020? Let us use this time to learn lessons. And come out of it stronger together.