"Coronavirus anxiety" brings up almost a TRILLION results in a Google search. We have never experienced this level of uncertainty, disruption, anxiety and fear in our lifetimes.
Many people are looking for anxiety relief techniques that work. Here are my top 10 (they are all super easy!)
The KEY to maintaining our emotional balance in these turbulent times is to experience short moments of peace and calm many times an hour!
Pick 2 or 3 of the following and practice, practice, practice - and wash your hands and stay home!
The quickest and easiest anxiety relief techniques are with the breath. Our breath is always with us, no fancy tools or appointments necessary.
WATCH THIS VIDEO to learn a simple "Square Breathing" technique.
When I did a Google search on “meditation and anxiety”, I instantly got back more than 30 million results! Even if you have still been holding back, give it a try! You only have your stress and anxiety to lose! There are many free meditation apps available. Some of my favorite are Insight Timer (free), Calm and Headspace. CLICK HERE for a free 5 minute guided meditation from me.
3. SHAKE OFF CORONAVIRUS ANXIETY
Whether you are a fan or one of her “haters”, do like Taylor Swift sings and “Shake it Off!” It’s a catchy tune and there’s actually some great wisdom in it. Animals in nature naturally do this. When a gazelle is being chased by a lion or a bunny being chased by a coyote, they kick into fight or flight mode and go into hyper drive. Once they reach safety, they shake it off, resetting their nervous system. The next time you start to feel anxious, get up and shake it off and notice how much better you feel!
Even if you’ve never taken a yoga class or think yoga is only for other people, you can do this simple yoga pose.
You will LOVE the benefits of “Legs Up The Wall”:
- calming and restorative
- gently stretches the spine
- relieves tired feet, legs, and lower back pain
- stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system
How to do “Legs Up The Wall":
- Sit at with wall with your right hip against the wall
- Lower down to your left shoulder as you swing your legs up the wall and shimmy and re-center your body (your buttocks may or may not be touching the wall).
- Legs can be somewhat relaxed, keep just enough tension in legs to hold them up.
- Close your eyes and breathe!
(This is a great pose to do at night for a restful night’s sleep)
5. WHAT'S RIGHT, RIGHT NOW?
Asking "What's right, right now?" - stopping in the midst of all the chaos swirling around us and being grateful that, in this moment, we are safe and healthy and alive can shift our mind to a moment of peace and calm and lower our anxiety.
Years ago, when I would fall into the trap of "What if? What if? What if?, my husband would tell me to stop, because only about 10% would actually happen and that I was just wasting energy. I didn’t find it particularly helpful, but it turns out he was actually right. A study actually proved that 85% of what research participants worried about never happened!
The next time you start on the “What if…” train, try this: STOP and ask "What's right right now?"
Many times when we are feeling anxious and stressed, we feel paralyzed by it and freeze. Many studies have proven that one of the best anxiety relief techniques is some form of exercise.
If you have no exercise routine already in place, simply start where you are. The possibilities are endless – what’s important is that you get up and move! Like all of these suggestions, the more you practice, the greater the benefits.
7. LISTEN TO MUSIC
Have you ever been driving home from a stressful day at work, turn on the radio and hear your favorite song? Suddenly your body starts to relax and maybe you smile, the stress and anxiety floating out the window. There have been numerous studies proving that music can help lower stress and anxiety levels. When you want to learn how to reduce stress by listening to music, it doesn’t matter what type it is. What’s important is that you listen to music YOU love.
When you are trying to find how to reduce stress, the answer could be as close as your fingertips (or tablet). Whether you read fiction or non-fiction, reading is a great way to distract your mind away from what is causing your stress and anxiety. A study from 2009 showed that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%!
9. PET YOUR PET
You may be noticing more and more people with their dogs in stores and on airplanes. Many people turn to emotional support animals for how to reduce stress and anxiety. While this may seem like a new “fad”, Animal Assisted Therapy actually goes back to the 1950’s. Animals have been brought into hospitals and nursing homes for decades because it has been proven that they provide comfort.
10. TAKE A DIGITAL TIME OUT
I am not suggesting turning a blind eye to what's going on right now. I AM suggesting you begin to limit how much and how often you are checking the new and social media.
There has been lots of discussion about the connection between on-screen time and stress, anxiety, depression and addiction to our devices.
Also, turn off the alerts and notifications!
Tony Fadell, who created the iPod and co created the first three generations of iPhones, talked about the dopamine hits we get when we hear the alerts and notifications on our phones and how they are intentionally created to be addicting. He wondered aloud if his grandchildren will think he’s “the guy the destroyed society”.
About the alerts and notifications, I realize how different my relationship to my phone is than most people. The only notification on my phone is a zen chime, if someone is trying to call me and I have no notifications on my computer.
Coronavirus anxiety relief next steps
We are living in extraordinary times and It is absolutely crucial to practice, practice, practice these techniques over and over and over again to build them into healthy new habits.
A great way to help make that happen is to find an accountability buddy. Steven Covey said "Accountability breed response-ability." Share this article with them, pick 2 or 3 techniques and begin practicing. Don't just do them one a day - the absolute key is to experience short moments of peace and calm every hour! Check in with your buddy throughout the day and you will find more emotional balance and resilience.
We are ALL experiencing Coronavirus anxiety - please share this with family, friends and colleagues.
I have written an updated version of this: 10 ways to calm coronavirus anxiety
Here are two more excellent articles from trusted sources:
Blessings of health and safety to you,