Have you ever had anxiety? Of course we all have and when it grows, it becomes a fear.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could quarantine anxiety and keep it from growing in ourselves and others? Yes, it would, and we’ll suggest some ways!
Right now we are dealing with a pandemic that causes anxiety or fear for everyone at different levels. We’re certainly not alone in these feelings. There’s anxiety about the possibility of getting sick or of losing a job or a business due to the effects on the economy. Sometimes there’s also anxiety over relationships that are rocky and could be better.
Surprisingly, anxiety can actually have some positive effects, as long as it is not too extreme. Extreme anxiety or fear can cause people to freeze and not be able to take action. When it’s not extreme, anxiety can actually be a motivator. Remember when you were faced with a test at school and you knew you weren’t prepared for it? Chances are you felt anxious and may have even stayed up most of the night before to prepare. Yes, the anxiety motivated you to do some cramming. But you also realized that preparing ahead would lower anxiety and be a better situation without all that distress.
I (Doug) sometimes would have anxiety that I’d forget the words when I was doing a solo performance of a song. Adequate preparation is the key to gaining confidence that the words would come. Maybe you have you felt a similar type of anxiety.
Have you ever been afraid of something and either it didn’t happen or when it happened it wasn’t so bad after all? That’s when we realize we can waste a lot of time being anxious for nothing. Mark Twain said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”
We are less likely to be prepared for an unexpected pandemic. And, it can have greater consequences than forgetting the words of a song or doing poorly on a test. This virus situation can bring extreme feelings of anxiety for people.
We’re now all adjusting to a new way of life. The virus is an invisible enemy. It may seem like there’s nothing we can do to feel less anxious, yet here are some ways to quarantine anxiety to keep it from growing and spreading.
- Identify the threat and what you fear. Avoid watching negative news all day but do get what you need to keep up on guidelines. Once this is clear, you’ll see how you might be able to prepare so you’ll be ready to adjust to a new way of living.
- Realize what you can control and what you can’t control. You can then also assess what help you need to feel less anxious to be able to handle the situation. Help from mentors, leaders in your place of worship, friends and family will help you feel supported.
- Cultivate a positive mindset and healthy body to generate peace. Deepak Chopra, who wrote "How to Know God" and several other books, suggests that our emotions are much more contagious than the virus. Prayer, meditation and time in nature can also help to lower stress, blood pressure and anxiety. These things also help boost the immune system, which is especially important at this time. Add sufficient rest and good diet, and a healthy mind, body and spirit are promoted. Noticing all we have to be grateful for each day can help to lower anxiety and increase happiness and peace.
- Visualize and build a positive future. Maybe there are exciting things you want to do. Possibly write a song, a book or embark on a new adventure or career. Don’t let anxiety or fear hold you back from using your strengths to achieve your dreams. This is a time to move forward on your life journey. Put your hopes and dreams into action! Joseph Campbell said, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
What about you? How will you quarantine anxiety in this stressful time?
We’ve listed some ways to lower anxiety that we hope you find helpful. We all know that this virus situation will eventually pass. We encourage you to make the most of this time to reflect, make necessary changes and move past anxiety and fear so you have your best life.
Let us know how you moved through anxiety and fear to accomplish your dreams.