April 6

How to Deal with Anxiety during Uncertain Times

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Here's a SUMMARY of the points covered in this article:

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Panic and Fear in times of Uncertainty


How do we cope with the chaos of uncertain times? We are living in extremely uncertain times - and that uncertainty can be difficult to cope with. You may feel worried right now. You may struggle to keep anxious thoughts in check. And you may feel unsure about the future. You may also be battling with judgements about your own emotions. Perhaps you say to yourself "I shouldn't feel this way" and that makes suffering worse. So try to avoid judging yourself for having the feelings you have. When times are hard we need to be kinder and more compassionate towards ourselves.

As humans we have the ability to imagine the future. This is something that has served us well in aiding creativity. However, during times of uncertainty when literally anything could be happen to anyone at any one times this capacity can be our enemy. We may fill our minds with terrifying images of catastrophic possible futures. This is what anxiety is. 

In 2016, a group of London researchers explored how people would react to being told that they would either "definitely" or "probably" receive a painful electric shock. They discovered an intriguing paradox.

Volunteers who knew they would definitely receive a painful electric shock felt calmer and were measurably less agitated than those who were told they only had a 50 percent chance of receiving the electric shock. This study shows that the uncertainty of something bad happening can be more stressful than the knowledge of something bad happening. 

Uncertainty Ignites our Primitive Survival Instinct. If we can’t neutralise a perceived threat, we engage in the unhelpful process called “worry”.We grapple with whatever the problem is to find solutions to the threat, but there are none. Does this make us feel better? No, quite the opposite - it makes us feel worse.

In our need for certainty, we are wired to “catastrophise” : we view or talk of a situation as worse than it actually is. This leads to worry, which in turn leads to anxiety. The modern brain struggles to distinguish between real threats and perceived threats.

The result is that the primitive brain takes over and triggers the primitive survival instinct - fight-or-flight. It asks questions:What is going to happen...? What is around the corner for me...? Should I be doing less...? Should I be doing more...? What if my business is threatened...? What if my livelihood is threatened...? What if my life is threatened...? Because we have no answers we this can lead to anger, aggression or frustration.

What Can we do to Mitigate Uncertainty?

  • Check in regularly and ask yourself: how am I feeling? Don't turn away from the feeling, lean into it.
  • Distance yourself from the “worry story” you are telling yourself (scroll to the end of this article for ways to do that)
  • Use Diaphragmatic Breathing 
  • Recognise the need to rise above the fight-or-flight panic response
  • Accept uncertainty. Let go of the need to control what cannot be controlled
  • Boost your mood: Try - Exercise and movement, Meditation and Self hypnosis, achievement-oriented activity and something pleasant or fun

Just 20 minutes a day, focussing on yourself, will help you regain a sense of balance. To help you with the mood-boosting, check out my download.

Relax now hypnosis mp3 cd cover

Calm the Body and Mind

Feel safe and restore calm with this 20 min hypnotic audio

5 Ways to Reduce and Prevent High Anxiety Levels

If you listen to the radio everyday you would understandably and naturally become overwhelmed by the amount of new and changing official information being issued on a daily basis. The problem in itself is overwhelming in its magnitude and scope and it is easy to feel powerless when we think about the many ways it is  affecting us all directly and indirectly. Our ‘normal’ way of life has already changed dramatically, whether we are in lockdown or not, and many people in our families and communities are left vulnerable.  

Because of the great deal of uncertainty about the future, stress, anxiety and depression are abound. Here are some practical ways you can help yourself:

1

Limit News and other Triggers

It's good to stay informed. However listening to the news several times a day and spending hours reading articles about Coronavirus is not going to help. In fact it is guaranteed to make you feel on edge, anxious and eventually depressed. Make sure you are in charge of when you are exposed to the news and for how long. Make sure you also discuss other topics when talking to friends and family over the phone or online.

2

Change your Focus

Anxiety is all about imagining catastrophic future scenarios. Although it is possible these scenarios may come true, it is too one sided to only entertain negative ideas. Balance is necessary. Do not try to push away these thoughts as what you resist persists. Instead acknowledge them but also remind yourself that there are other possibilities. Things could also turn out better than imagined. There are many possible scenarios. Take them into consideration. 

3

Move your Body

Changing  physiology changes mental state. When you are feeling low you will tend to look down and frown. How would your body move if you were feeling excited, calm, or playful? Now move your body that way. Notice how that changes the way you feel to match it. Experiment. You could try running, dancing, or moving to different kinds of music. How does that influence your mood?


4

Make Self Care a Priority

Self care is a must during a pandemic. Your immune system needs to be as strong as possible. So concentrate on eating healthy, organic food, exercising, resting and sleeping enough, keeping your brain interested in stimulating activities and socialising to a degree that makes you feel connected. 

5

Change Emotional State

When you are feeling in a non resourceful state it is essential to know how to switch into a more resourceful one quickly. See below for some ways of doing this using NLP.


How to use NLP to Change Emotional State


Use Positive Language to reframe your experience

Language shapes experience. Words are used to represent our experience. In that representation they alter our perceptions and feelings. If an an assemblage of words is creating states that disempower you, get rid of those words and replace them with those that empower you. For example: what happens when instead of saying - "this is a disaster! I can never survive, it's going to be hell on earth!"  you said -  "this is not what I would have wanted but I can cope. I am going to do the best I can to make it work for me."



Ask yourself Empowering Questions

Questions change what we are focussing on and how we feel as a consequence. The only thing that limits your questions is your belief about what is possible. When you create a better question you create a better answer. When you ask "Why" questions, you can end up feeling worse, because the question may only be answered by providing negative reasons and excuses for staying the same. For example consider the following limiting questions: "Why me?" "Why does this always happen to me? "Why am I so depressed / anxious / unhappy?"

Now consider the following empowering questions:  "What can I do to make this work for me?" "How can I turn this around?" "If I could be happy about something what could I be happy about?" "What can I learn from this?"



Transform your Negative Imaginings and rob them of their power

Take a situation that is challenging you. Make a picture of it in your mind. Now imagine pushing it farther and farther away from yourself. Stand above it and look down upon the problem from a new perspective. Make the image dimmer and smaller.  Push it back and watch the sun melt it. Put the image behind you. Push it back until it's miles and miles behind, until it is a dot receding in the darkness. 


Want a quick and easy way to relax?


Download the following hypnotic audio and listen to it every day! Just 20 minutes a day will help you feel calm. In this hypnotic audio I will guide you through a hypnotic experience where you will feel calm and safe. I will also show you how to create a resourceful state of calm that you can access outside hypnosis anytime you want. 

Relax now hypnosis mp3 cd cover

Calm the Body and Mind

Feel safe and restore calm with this 20 min Hypnotic audio


Essential Resources


Feeling panicky? Having a panic attack? Learn two easy ways to prevent and diffuse a panic attack

Learn how to use EFT at home to cope with severe emotional distress.

About the author 

Elisa

Elisa Di Napoli is a holistic clinical hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner, speech and performance coach, author, and singer-songwriter. She specializes in helping professionals, entrepreneurs and performing artists beat presentation nerves and stage fright so they can take their career to the next level. Best selling author of “Dare to Be Seen” she has been featured on radio and podcasts, and her articles have been published on blogs and online magazines. Elisa's background in comparative religion, music, and acting allows her to offer creative strategies for her clients, while her motto “dare to be seen” urges them to shine their light on the world.


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