IF YOU ARE FACING UNEXPECTED CHALLENGES RIGHT NOW, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
The world has changed.
After my five-year-old grandson watched a television program recently, he commented, “It must have been made before COVID because they aren’t social distancing.”
We are all aware that the world has changed.
Most people I know, no matter what their situation, even the ones who would appear to be leading a good life in these COVID times, admit that most of the time they are aware of underlying anxiety.
Self-awareness is key to managing anxiety and change. It all comes back to you.
First of all, it is a good thing if you are aware of your anxiety. The next step is to ask yourself the question, “Where do I feel that anxiety in my body?” Rather than trying to suppress or ignore your feelings, allow yourself to feel them and get curious as to what your anxiety is telling you.
All of our feelings are part of the human experience. Our feelings come and go. There are no good or bad feelings. They are simply our messengers, providing feedback as to what is going on in our lives.
Part of having a full life is feeling all of your emotions, both pleasant and unpleasant. Sometimes we are beaming with joy and gratitude. Other times we are experiencing heartbreak and disappointment. It is important to acknowledge all of these feelings.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the way to heal and move through painful experiences is to let yourself feel. There are many healthy ways to process your emotions:
- you can take some time out, just focus on your breath and feel your feelings;
- you can place yourself in nature and feel its healing power;
- you can write in a journal;
- you can talk to a friend;
- you can seek professional help.
The most important thing of all is to make your self-care a priority and to treat yourself with compassion.
My sense of why many people are feeling underlying anxiety at this present time is that they feel there are outside forces that are beyond their control and they know their lives have changed as a result.
Many of us think that if we can control what is around us, then we are okay. The truth is, good mental and emotional health has always relied on the premise that we focus our energies on what is going on within us, looking at the choices we make and the behaviours we undertake.
As we begin to connect with our own truth, the sense of feeling overwhelmed and out of control turns to one of connection, understanding and a meaningful direction for our lives.
Research has shown that 85% of what we worry about will never happen. Also, it is pointless worrying about something that we have absolutely no control over.
When we focus outwards on the things we can’t control, we feel powerless, which in turn creates anxiety. According to Dr Mark Waldman, our brain disconnects from any worry, fear or doubt, if you write it down and mindfully observe it.
- To diminish worry and anxiety, write down all the things you worry about.
- Now cross off the list of the things you worry about that you can’t control.
- There will be some things in your life that you worry about and that you can influence.
- Become curious and decide on possible steps to take towards a solution for those things.
There’s nothing like effective action to overcome those niggling worries and anxieties.
I will leave the last words to Rania Naim:
“I’m slowly learning that life is better lived when you don’t centre it on what’s happening around you and centre it on what’s happening inside you instead. Work on yourself and your inner peace and you’ll come to realize that not reacting to every little thing that bothers you is the first ingredient to living a happy and healthy life.”
Jan Holland is a Divorce and Relationship Breakup Coach. Jan offers online 1:1 coaching, group workshops and programs. She has written the book “A Journey of Transformation.” To find out more, you can visit her website. www.coachjanholland.com