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How To Manage Worry And Fear In Trying Times

Camarillo, Calif. (November 9, 2020)—Experiencing worry and fear in today’s unsettling world is perfectly normal, says Dr. Noelle Nelson, psychologist, author, and host of the Up! Uplifting, Inspiring, Practical podcast. How you respond to these emotions is what is important to your wellbeing.

“COVID, continuing business closures, high unemployment, racial and social inequities, political anxiety–it’s almost impossible to go a day without some negative thoughts,” says Nelson. “We worry about our health, about the health of our loved ones, about the fate of our jobs, businesses, schools, career and country. We worry almost non-stop.”

A Gallup Poll conducted in March and April found that the percentages of U.S. adults experiencing significant stress each day stands at 60 percent, up 15 percent from a year ago. Nelson points to consistent research that shows a steady diet of worry, fear and anxiety has an effect on our bodies including immune systems. Recent research says that negative thinking patterns can even increase the risk of cognitive decline.

“We can’t magically transform the present conditions into sweetness and light nor should we bury our heads in the sand,” says Nelson. “But we can adopt a few simple techniques that will lift us out of our negative emotional state enough so that we do not inadvertently harm our long-term physical and mental well-being.”

Make A List

In a column, write down what causes you anxiety at the moment. Getting worries and fears out of our minds and onto paper/computer is the first step to addressing them.

Do a Reality-Check

Next, across from each worry and fear, write what you’ve done or can do to help allay them. For COVID, that could mean being vigilant about wearing a mask, keeping socially distanced and washing your hands. If laid off, it might be immediately applying for unemployment, looking into what jobs are available and what skills are needed to help be successful.

Follow Through

Few things are better antidotes to worry and fear than taking steps to tackle them head-on. Loss of control is one of the hardest side effects of the pandemic. Any time you can take charge in your life, it helps re-establish a sense of control.

Cultivate Mindfulness

Finally, so much of our worry and fear is future based. Mindfulness is staying completely in the present moment with all your senses. For example, really tasting your morning beverage, noticing the feel of the cup or glass in your hand. It can be really listening with your whole being to your loved one when they speak to you, noticing their body language, the look in their eyes, the tone of their voice as well as their words. Being mindful is noticing your own breathing, and deliberately relaxing into a slow inhale-exhale rhythm whenever fear attempts to hijack your thoughts.

Nelson believes these few simple techniques can serve as a useful “starter kit” to get you going on a more positive thought path no matter the circumstances.

Nelson’s Up! Uplifting, Inspiring, Practical podcasts are released the first and third Tuesday of each month. You can hear them on Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts and on YouTube. For more on Nelson, go to http://www.NoelleNelson.com.

The above article is from Dr. Noelle Nelson, psychologist, author, and host of the Up! Uplifting, Inspiring, Practical podcast.

I think it’s safe to say that you and I are all experiencing some type of worry during these crazy times. This year has been one we’ve never experienced before and with that comes anxiety from not knowing what will happen next.

I’ve found that sticking to our routine has helped normalize the current state of our lives. Focus on one thing at a time rather than thinking about several different things at once. This causes our anxiety and worry. It’s been said that worry is what happens when you are living in the future and not being present in the now.

Address what you are feeling now and make a list on how to move yourself forward. Be mindful and present to keep from worrying…too much.

I wish you peace and guidance on your journey.

Take care and be well.

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