Description: I have posted previously about the stress associated with the high degrees of uncertainty associated with our immediate and longer-term futures in relation to the coronavirus. It is important to keep in mind that while many of the factors contributing to our uncertainty and the related stresses that accompany them are obvious; our health and those of others, our own, our country’s and the world’s economic situation, many more are not at all obvious. Indirect sources of uncertainty and related anxieties are harder to see and thus harder to address and include things like the shifts in unconscious social norms due to the demands of social distancing, mask wearing, etc., and the broad uncertainties of doing what we used to do but doing it differently, like “going to school, college or university” but doing so via a mix of masked limited attendance or by some form of astral projection. Oh, and the anxieties and emotions associated with all this uncertainty? Well that adds to our overall stress levels too! One advantage we DO have, if we care to use it is that our feelings of anxiety, our emotions, are right here with us and we can address them directly even if we cannot see what is driving them clearly enough to plan and engage in solid, problem focused coping strategies. By managing our anxiety levels, we effectively reduce their negative impact upon our ability to think clearly and to effectively and positively plan our behavior. How does THAT work? Have a read through the article linked below for some suggestions that are solidly grounded in Psychological research and clinical practice.
Source: Five-Minute Coronavirus Stress Resets: How to get unstuck from your anxiety, Jenny Taitz, New York Times
Date: August 16, 2020
The main point of the linked article is dealing locally (within yourself) with the physiological and psychological consequences of uncertainty and anxiety frees up your powerful cognitive resources making it possible for you to move forward positively despite uncertainties. The suggestions in the article are things you can do in order to adaptively cope with the fact that we will likely be doing a LOT of the same things differently in the coming months and with a little planning and a little more than usual mindfulness we can manage very well.
Questions for Discussion:
- Can you clearly account for or point to ALL of the things that you are currently anxious or uncertain about?
- Are you sure? What might be some areas where your anxiety levels are being bumped up by things that you do not easily focus on?
- Do you have a plan in place to regularly take a few moments to reflect on how you are feeling and about how things are going for you? If not, what might such a plan look like? What might it include?
References (Read Further):
Graff, V., Cai, L., Badiola, I., & Elkassabany, N. M. (2019). Music versus midazolam during preoperative nerve block placements: a prospective randomized controlled study. Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine, 44(8), 796-799. Link
Mongrain, M., & Trambakoulos, J. (2007). A musical mood induction alleviates dysfunctional attitudes in needy and self-critical individuals. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 21(4), 295-309. Link
Michael Panneton, W. (2013). The mammalian diving response: an enigmatic reflex to preserve life?. Physiology, 28(5), 284-297. Link
Russo, M. A., Santarelli, D. M., & O’Rourke, D. (2017). The physiological effects of slow breathing in the healthy human. Breathe, 13(4), 298-309. Link
Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 78(2), 169. Link
Boswell, J. F., Farchione, T. J., Sauer-Zavala, S., Murray, H. W., Fortune, M. R., & Barlow, D. H. (2013). Anxiety sensitivity and interoceptive exposure: A transdiagnostic construct and change strategy. Behavior therapy, 44(3), 417-431. Link