Being Calm When the World is Upside Down

The news is filled with statistics on COVID-19, event cancellations, school and church closures, Stay at Home orders.  you might be feeling a bit anxious.

The problem with anxiety is how it affects our brains and therefore our behavior and decision-making abilities.  So in the middle of all this news, we need to know how to deal with anxiety.

In simplistic terms, anxiety or fear is based in our “downstairs brain”.  This is our more primitive part of the brain. and when the downstairs brain is activated and in charge, the “upstairs brain”, the cognitive part of the brain, is offline.  our decision-making abilities are diminished and we panic, we rush to judgment and make poor decisions.

How do we deal with anxiety and stay more in our upstairs brain?  Here are some tips.

  1. Stop and just recognize that you are anxious.  Let your self feel that.
  2. If possible figure out what specifically you are anxious about (perhaps how to rearrange your life with all the COVID-19 c
  3. Reduce the mount changes)
  4. Try slow, deep breathing.  Other ideas are listening to music, meditating, prayer, taking a walk.f time you are on a device looking at the news.  The intense, staccato delivery of news ramps up our anxiety.
  5. Once your anxiety is down a bit, turn to the facts.  What do you know about the situation? Are there resources or people who can help you? In reality, at this moment, are you currently safe (even though your downstairs brain is telling you no).
  6. Remind yourself of how in the past you have gotten through difficult situations.  You have the internal resources to get through this too.
  7. Make a plan, step by step, to deal with the situation as best you can.

Life is full of potential and real problems.  be proactive with managing your anxiety. If you find that you can’t manage your anxiety or it is chronic, seek out therapy.  Anxiety is difficult to live with but it doesn’t need to be permanent.