During the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a lot that is out of our control. And, with the extra time many of us have due to so much of life being put on hold, our minds can become idle and worry can easily set in. Worry is a natural part of life. We all worry from time to time, but we don’t have to be consumed by worry. Here are some strategies that may help you work through your anxiety:
ACKNOWLEDGE THE WORRY | Trying to ignore the worry or wish it away can make us worry about the worrying. So, if anxious thoughts are playing over and over again in your head, it may help to get them out of your head and onto paper. Schedule 15 minutes a day to put your anxieties down on paper and go over them. Often, simply naming the anxiety can take away some of its power.
CHALLENGE THE NARRATIVE | Sometimes our anxieties are exaggerated negative perspectives. Our imaginations may inflate the challenges we are faced with or minimize the tools and abilities we have to confront them. As you write down your anxieties, also ask, “What’s the truth in the story?” and maybe more importantly, “What’s God’s truth in this story?” (The Bible has a lot to say about worry.) “What is a more positive way to look at this scenario?” and, “How is worrying helping?” can also be good ways to challenge the narrative.
SHARE YOUR WORRY | Identify someone you trust who is also a peaceful and encouraging presence in your life to share some of your worry. Sharing your anxiety with a friend may uncover creative ways to solve or address the issue causing anxiety. And sometimes speaking the worry out loud may expose it as unwarranted.
EXERCISE | During physical activity, endorphins are released in the body. Endorphins are the body’s natural way of reducing pain and stress and producing feelings of pleasure. Additionally, exercise helps us to be mindful of our bodies and our surroundings which helps to take our mind and energy from those things we are anxious about.
ACT OR SURRENDER | Ultimately, worry can’t be wished away, it must be replaced with either action or surrender. If the problem is one you can do something about, create a list of actionable steps to solve the problem and get to work. If the problem is outside of your control, name it, acknowledge that it is outside of your control, and prayerfully surrender it to God.
IF NECESSARY, SEEK OUT A PROFESSIONAL WHO CAN HELP | If the worry or anxiety isn’t relieved by employing some of these strategies or has persisted over a prolonged period of time, find a professional therapist who can work with you to address your anxiety. Life is too short to live in a state of worry, stress, and anxiety. There is help available!