Managing Anxiety in Uncertainty
Everyone has experienced it at one time or another. We have all felt it when anticipating a big event or facing down a tough decision. I even see it in my children as they bite their nails or can't sleep before a test or major athletic competition. In some ways, it sharpens us, makes us hyperaware of the consequences of our actions, and pushes us to perform at our best. A little bit of anxiety causes a rush of chemicals in our bodies that makes us run faster, jump higher, and do better. Fight or Flight. But... a lot of anxiety paralyzes us. It casts doubt and fear and keeps us from even getting started, much less doing our best. In some cases, more commonly than is talked about, it keeps us from even getting out of bed.
Many times, we naturally manage it using techniques we have learned from our youth. We pray. We take a deep breath. We go for a jog. We hit a punching bag. We call a friend. We take steps to resolve the situation causing our anxiety - we study for the test, work out harder for the competition, mend the relationship.
But what happens when we can't "fix it"? What happens in the time of a global pandemic where a blanket of anxiety is laid upon everything and everyone. We are suspicious of the person in the grocery store, are they infected, will I catch it? We are distancing from our closest of friends, and while it is necessary right now it is also one of the ways humans manage anxiety the best, by leaning on our loved ones.
So what do we do? The same thing we always do. Pray. Breathe deeply. Exercise. Call your mom, your sister, your best friend. It is normal to feel uneasy in a time like this. Give yourself permission to feel the way you do. And if it is so bad that you need more help, ask for it! There are medicines and therapies that can make a difference. We are all in this together and I am here for you.
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