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3 step to managing stress, anxiety, and panic

Take a moment. Ask yourself, “where are my thoughts right now?” If you’re beginning to feel a constant knot in your stomach from watching too much news; if you’re beginning to succumb to a wave of hysteria accompanying this pandemic, then it might be time for a psychological reboot.

1.) Turn OFF (!) or limit your TV viewing. This is very important. You can’t expect to neutralize your emotions if you’re constantly fueling your fears with news “alerts.”

2.) Take a deep breath (or two). Every once in a while, find that deep breath…slowly inhale, slowly exhale. Focus on your breathing—not your thoughts! Begin to shift from your mind’s stress response (sympathetic nervous system), which is fueled by fear, to your body’s relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system), which is fueled by both the slowing down of your thoughts and calm, focused breathing.

3.) Look around you, pay attention to your environment. What do you see? Your sofa, a few plants, sunlight coming through the window…. hysteria and panic aren’t like your plants or sofa, they don’t exist! Not unless we allow them to exist in our mind. Stressful times don’t mean you have to allow your imagination implode with insecurity-driven “what-ifs.” The covid19 virus doesn’t make us anxious, we allow it to. Stop being passive with your thoughts, insist on being more present rather than projecting insecurity into some uncertain future.

If you’d like to give yourself (and your psyche) a break today, try embracing one of my favorite Zen adages: chop wood, carry water. Pay attention to all the small details in your life, stay focused, keep it simple. Doesn’t matter if you’re washing a dish or doing your bills, be present, be focused. Keep engaging your parasympathetic nervous system. No matter what, chop wood, carry water. Nothing else.

#anxiety #covid19coping #covid19anxiety

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