Anxiety And The Brain: What Really Happens When Anxiety Takes Hold One in four people struggle with anxiety during the festive period. However, after such…
The 2020 Anxiety: Four Strategies To Cope
In 2020, almost 64% of people in a major study had signs of depression, while 57% recorded symptoms of anxiety. Of this, 26% of people had severe anxiety, and 31% had severe depression, showing that this year has not just been challenging for people, but life-changing.
From Coronavirus anxiety, lockdown pressures, work insecurity, loneliness and stressful news stories; it is not merely the pandemic, which is causing a rise in anxiety. Instead, 2020 has been a year with a whole host of triggers which is increasing stress levels and affecting our emotional and physical health.
Sadly, we now face even more triggers as uncertainty, and ever-changing measures make it difficult to cope. When you don’t know what will happen next, this can increase the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body which can negatively impact your wellbeing.
So, with 2020 anxiety seemingly here to stay for winter, what practical measures can you implement to cope?
Four Strategies To Help With 2020 Anxiety
1. Name The Fear
So often, we express our distress through our actions. It may be that you’re more argumentative with your partner, perhaps you have lost motivation at work or struggle to get out of bed. The key here is not to look at the first response, but understanding where these actions are coming from.
Ignoring your fear (or pretending it doesn’t exist) allows it to remain in control. So, by naming your fear, you put yourself back in control. Once you know what’s really going on, you can begin to manage it.
In the case of 2020, there may be many negative thoughts circling your brain, saying all of these fears out loud, or writing them down, helps you to get out of your head and gives you the control to better manage how you feel.
2. Honour Your Emotions
Every emotion you’re feeling right now is entirely valid. 2020 anxiety is leading many people to experience incredibly intense emotions which typically travel through different stages, similar to grief. You may be in denial or experiencing anger, sadness or acceptance. All of these deserve recognition, and what you’re feeling is completely normal.
However, it can help to ensure these emotions reflect the present, rather than the past or the future. When you recognise the emotion you feel, it can help to respond to this emotion with a mantra. For example, ‘I am strong enough to handle this’, or ‘I am resilient and will bounce back’. Make sure your affirmations begin with ‘I am’ as this gives them much more power!
3. Take Control
A feeling of helplessness goes hand in hand with 2020 anxiety. With rules imposed by others and consequences that occur regardless of your actions can feel like you don’t have any control. The lack of control can cause anxious thoughts, so it is vital to understand your sphere of influence and work out what you can and can’t control.
It can help to draw a circle of influence diagram. With this, you write down everything that is worrying you. Then place these worries in the relevant sections.
Circle Of Control – In the middle of the circle, make notes of everything that you’re feeling or worrying about, but that you do have control over. For example, this could be washing your hands frequently, eating healthily to build a strong immune system or developing a variety of income streams if you have financial worries.
Circle Of Influence: The middle ring of the diagram is for worries that you cannot control, but may be able to influence. For example, volunteering at a local food bank, writing a letter to your MP or reaching out to the people who may be able to help you.
Circle Of Concern: This outer ring is where you can place all of your worries that you have no control over, such as government policy, or the worldwide number of Coronavirus cases.
When you complete this activity, you may be surprised about how many of your worries you do have control over. You may find you have more power to change than you first thought. Furthermore, acknowledging the issues in the Circle Of Concern helps to release these worries from your head, so you can take a more logical and practical view of what’s on your mind.
4. Build Resilience And Find Support
My free programme for Managing Coronavirus Anxiety is on-hand for whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed by the latest news events. This programme offers tools to help calm your mind and cultivate positivity too.
You can also join my Live Online With Malminder programme which offers an hour of live hypnosis every month, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
The next live session will take place on Tuesday 10th November at 9 pm, which will focus solely on managing anxiety. If you can’t make it live, you can access previous sessions from your online portal. I recommend listening to the hypnosis at least once a week to maximise its restorative effects. What’s more, you can receive your first month for free with the code below!