A recent survey from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) shows that COVID-19 is seriously impacting Americans’ mental health, with around 50% of US adults reporting high levels of anxiety because of the virus. Here are six tips to decrease your anxiety and stay positive during these uncertain times.
1. Choose to Focus on Your Blessings: During a national pandemic, many people allow their minds to be consumed with fear and negative thoughts, and find themselves focusing on the challenges and difficulties around them, rather than on the opportunities and blessings. To combat negative thinking, write down all the things you are thankful for, and all the ways you have been blessed. It might be surprising to see how long your list will be.
2. Make Time for Solitude: I start each morning with prayer and solitude. There are certain things that are in our control; but if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that there are many things that are out of our control.
3. Decide How You Will Get Better During This Time: My friend, Damon West spent seven years in a maximum security prison. He used his downtime in prison to “work on himself”, reading hundreds of books during that time and coming out more spiritually, physically and mentally fit than ever. Make the decision to get better during this time of quarantine and social distancing.
4. Experience Nature: Last week I spent five hours sitting in a deer stand in the woods, which was extremely restorative. I used that time to brainstorm ideas, connect with God and nature, and to think about all sorts of things I don’t normally take the time to think about. On a smaller scale, stepping away from your computer to take a walk outside, for example, can allow you to refocus your thoughts and be refreshed.
5. Connect often: This is the perfect time to reach out to family, friends, and past clients to connect and to avoid isolating. Knowing that everyone is going through the pandemic together makes it easier to accept.
6. Find Ways to Serve: It is amazing to watch the courage of our healthcare workers and first responders during these times. While many of us are confined to our homes, we can still find ways to help and serve others. Mother Theresa said it best when she said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
Make a difference!