As a psychotherapist, yoga and mindfulness teacher I frequently deal with clients and students struggling with anxiety. I have had my own struggles with anxiety. Through my journey as a client and now as a therapist and teacher I have developed some tools that I hope you find useful. These tools address both the mind and the body as they are intertwined. Every emotion we feel resides somewhere in our body so it is important to check in with your body when strong emotions arise.
For all of us and especially for those who are living alone, staying connected to others is fundamental for emotional and psychological well being. I prefer being in real-time whether it be talking on the phone or, if available, Facetime or Skype. Increasingly, there are live groups to join for yoga, various workouts, and chat groups. Many of these are free or pay what you can and you can find them on Instagram live or zoom or Facebook.
Creating a structure to your day can help ground you and manage anxiety. During this surreal time, hours and days can melt into one another and I know for me, it is easy to lose track of time and days. While on vacation, this can be delightful and welcomed, however, during a world health crisis not so much.
There are psychotherapists like myself, offering phone and virtual sessions. Many of my clients both new and old find that having someone who can listen, understand their concerns and perhaps gain a new perspective is helpful.
A technique that I use when I find anxiety creeping in is going into the five senses. Go into what you see and describe it to yourself, notice what you hear, pay attention to your sense of smell. You may want to have a small object to keep in a pocket and touch. This may help you feel more grounded. When you are eating you can try to slow down to taste your food.
Sometimes when we are anxious, sitting with the breath in meditation can be difficult and you can reap the benefits of a sit through mindfulness in action exercises. For example, walking and really feeling your feet rooted in the ground can be beneficial.
Exercise is also a great way to release endorphins and move anxiety to the periphery. If you are uncomfortable going outside, there are a variety of classes offered online. This is a way to feel connected.
We are all in this together, trying to do our best to stay centered and grounded and well.
It is important to know you are not alone. Kristin Neff, a researcher in self-compassion and author, calls this “common humanity”.
I hope these suggestions are helpful.
Feel free to reach out. You can connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org