If you have been feeling an increase in your levels of stress, anxiety and worry, you are not alone. This is a rare time in history where many events are occurring at the same time that are overwhelmingly stressful.
All you have to do is step outside and you instantly realize something is different. We have had record setting heat waves, devastating fires, other natural disasters around the world, the pandemic, distance learning…the list can go on forever. Although, these are not the norm, they are becoming more frequent and causing distress for many. With every new unforeseeable event, people are feeling their stress, anxiety and worry increase or in some cases become unmanageable.
Although, we can not prevent stressful events in the future, one thing we can do is try to stay focused in the present moment. There is really nothing we can do to change the past; it has already occurred and there is very little we can do to see or predict what will occur in the future. If you catch yourself getting caught up in the past or future, remind yourself that it is important to stay focused and present in the moment. What we can control is the NOW. What is happening right now and how we are combating the challenges we are faced with.
If you find yourself or your child overwhelmed with stress to the point where it is interfering with your ability to function in the present moment another tool you can use is to give yourself a designated amount of time to worry each day and then be done with it and move on with your priorities for the day so you don’t become stuck in an endless cycle of worry.
To review, 2 skills that one can use to help manage anxiety and stress are #1 stay focused in the present moment, and #2 allocate a certain amount of time to worry and then move on with your tasks. If you find yourself still feeling overwhelmed, then I highly recommend that you do a simple google search for beginning yoga videos that you can watch for free online or on YouTube. YouTube is filled with yoga classes and demonstration videos to help the most novice person learn how to integrate their breathing and movement to help calm their bodies and minds. If you combine all three skills, of being present, allotting worry time and integrating a yoga or mindfulness practice into your daily routine, you are likely to feel more of a sense of calm and control over your environmental stressors and moods. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
Amber Sanner, LMFT