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Ideas To Keep The Negative Stress At Bay During This “New Normal”

Wow-what a difference a week makes. Early last week I was making plans to give some community talks, but then, BAM-I don’t think they’re gonna happen in the time frame I thought.

There’s so much more I wish I could share with you in this particular short newsletter about ways to deal with any worry, anxiety, and fears, but I want to keep it very easy on you because I know you’ve got a lot to think about these days.

Here are 5 ideas to keep worry, anxiety, and fears (WAF’s) at bay:

1.  Recognize and get comfortable with uncertainty
Think about it-we all live with a lot of uncertainty on a daily basis. For example, any time you take a shower, you could fall in the tub and hurt yourself. But does that stop you from taking a shower? No, because you don’t dwell on that fact, which makes it a lot easier to take a shower.  When someone constantly focuses on uncertain situations, it keeps the amygdala activated, which is a recipe for more worrying, anxiety, and fear. It becomes a vicious cycle. You can choose differently, recognize that uncertainty is very common, thus enabling you to have more control over your thoughts.

2. Keep what’s happening in perspective
A quick way to keep from having WAF’s is to limit media time. Ask yourself how much time, how much of my precious life and energy, am I willing to give up to upsetting media coverage? Yes, stay informed (more on that later) however it’s important that you limit exposure to what you hear on TV and read online and re-focus on what’s good and positive in your life as well as the things you do have control over.

3. Keep in touch with those you care about and who you know care about you
Using CDC guidelines about social distancing, reach out to those important to you. Yes, I too believe in the power of hugs, but social distancing protects you and the ones you love. Use technology, if you have it – a simple phone call, text, or video call may increase feelings of connectedness, which can help keep you calmer.

4. Continue your health promoting routine
If you’ve ever worked with me, you may remember the encouragement to create a wellness lifestyle, which includes exercise or some type of movement. Exercise is a great way to decrease WAF’s because you have to really focus as you do it so you don’t hurt yourself. It’s also a way to integrate your body, mind, and spirit to keep the stress hormones at bay. Keep on moving!

5. Start or continue to make happiness or contentment your focus
As you focus on the good already in your life (from #2), consider intentionally taking it in. Dr. Rick Hanson*, a neuropsychologist offers us this suggestion through H.E.A.L.:

H: Have a positive experience. Notice or create it, like the sun coming up in the morning, a baby’s smile as they crawl towards you, or calling your bff and sharing your day.

E: Enrich it. Hold this new positive experience in you for 5 seconds or longer. Use all your senses to truly feel it.

A: Absorb it: Allow this really good experience to become part of you so that it feels as comfortable as your favorite pair of shoes.

L: Link positive and negative material. Even if you have something negative in the past, allow the positive experience you’ve been having to remain front and center. See if you can remain with the positive and let go or simply allow the past negative event to be present without focusing on it.

Last, it’s important to be concerned, stay informed, and not panic. Choosing credible information sources, such as CDC, can help and give you the information you need.

As always, I love helping women live happier lives. Whether you call it depression, anxiety, stress, or nerves, I’d like to help. I invite you to call me at 512.680.2874 for your free 15-minute phone consultation. Let’s discuss how I may be able to help.

And remember, TBC is completely online now offering video sessions, which frees up your time so you can enjoy your life more!

Looking forward to hearing your story and helping you feel better,

Dr. B.

*Hanson, R. (2013). Hardwiring Happiness: The Practical Science of Reshaping Your Brain-and Your Life. Random House.

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