April 12, 2020
Q: What’s your advice for dealing with anxious feelings?
A: The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a huge, frightening wrench in nearly every aspect of our lives. Many of us are feeling lost and anxious, myself included.
There’s a distinct feeling right now that things aren’t quite right. It feels like we’re all waiting and hoping for things to go back to normal. Knowing that we still have a ways to go before that happens, I recommend controlling what we can and accepting the rest.
It’s important to take care of ourselves and to pay attention to how we’re feeling and coping. As I reflect on my own anxiety and coping mechanisms, I can’t help but notice the similarities in my early addiction recovery, especially control.
There was very little stability in my life as I was growing up. I never had control over anything, which was painful and confusing. When I eventually started drinking, I found I could control my mood, for a few hours at least. Of course, that led to even more instability: broken relationships, lost jobs, hospital visits and more.
Once I sought recovery, I realized just how much control played a role in my addiction. Since then, I’ve done my best to control the aspects of my life that I can, and let go of the rest.
Instead of being victims of circumstance, instead of letting life happen to us, we can decide how we let events change us.
Often, this involves changing our way of thinking. It’s not easy, because it requires asking ourselves some tough questions:
“How am I feeling?”
“Do I have the power to make myself feel better right now?”
"What’s really bothering me?”
“Am I doing something wrong?”
“How would it feel to accept the many things out of my control?”
Letting go and living in the moment is easier said than done, of course. We live our lives knowing every single moment that something will happen in the next. We take on all this pressure and anxiety that we don’t need to.
Being mindful doesn’t mean you’re not productive or not planning for the future, but it can help you ease some of those anxious or panicked feelings. It may be more work, but I believe the relief that it brings is so important.
Amber covered this topic at length in a workplace webinar. You can watch the whole video here.