Mindfulness can Reduce Anxiety During this Pandemic
Given the stay-at-home orders and the change in our daily lives, many of us are feeling a lot of anxiety, much more than usual.
Mindfulness can soothe your anxiety.
The thing about worry and anxiety is that they feed itself. Feeling intense anxiety makes it even more likely that we will continue to feel anxiety. Worrying over things that you can do nothing to change, starts building the perceived problems into larger and larger monsters. It has a snowball effect that often leaves us sweaty and unable to think of anything else.
This bring us to an important realization: part of what traps us in anxiety and worry is what we think about. Our thoughts can keep us on a merry-go-round in our mind or help us get off it so we can actually do something different with our thoughts or even with our day. Staying on a merry-go-round too long can make us sick to our stomach. None of us need that as we’re trying to adjust to our new Shelter-at-Home lifestyle.
The stoic Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said “You have power over your mind- not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” Modern psychology has shown that he is right. One of the most powerful tools we have is our focus. If we focus on what we don’t want, it comes even closer. For example, if you have ever been on a ledge or climbing down a tall ladder, looking down can be disorienting and increase not only the fear of falling, but also the likelihood of falling. If we have someone more experienced to help us manage our fear, they might say “don’t look down. Focus on where you place your hands and feet.” This helpful guidance is accurate not only for physical challenges, but for mental focus too. The way to free our minds from negative or worrisome thoughts is to shift our focus.
Check out this video for one helpful way to shift our focus away from worry. This was created by Pixar’s Pete Docter.