5 Tips to Reduce Anxiety in Today’s World
November 18, 2020
Antonia shares five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious – something we likely all can relate to as we approach a holiday season unlike any other.
- Small gestures matter. I believe that there is a lot of power in the small gesture, and those are not practiced enough today. Handwritten notes, encouraging texts, bringing someone a favorite beverage, offering to do something for the person (like going for a socially-distant walk or simply asking “how are you doing?” ) all signal that you are thinking of them in a concrete way, you care, and they are not alone. Anxiety can be very isolating, so this is a great way to gently support connection.
- Offering to sit together — whether in person or virtually — and be a sounding board. This is a great time to listen and support- just resist the urge to tell someone what to do. Phrases like, “have you thought about…?” or “help me understand…?” can be important. Sometimes, just sharing a laugh or a shared memory can be therapeutic. While memories of life pre-pandemic may seem far off, reminiscing about positive, joyful memories can spark a chain of positivity. From a mindfulness perspective, this is an opportunity to practice being fully present with the person and focus on what serves them best in the moment.
- Bring your own positive point of view and provide context for how you see your own life or challenges. This is an opportunity to share small ways that you are bringing positivity into your life in the face of a personal challenge. Resist the urge to draw comparisons or give advice based on your experience unless it is actively sought. Tell a great story that can create a connection and provide the context in a positive way. If you are personally in a negative headspace, don’t bring that with you and facilitate a “misery loves company” mentality. Your personal mindfulness practice should include how you want to show up for others and what you want to project into the world.
- Offer a ritual suggestion or option — Ritual and pattern are powerful ways to create mindfulness by bringing intention to life through these choices. Sleep machines, lavender aromatherapy, favorite books, a great meditation app, a meaningful podcast series, can all be suggestions that can give respite from anxiety and help establish a meaningful daily habit focused on the individual.
- Get active together — Movement is medicine. Exercise has long been revered for the ability to produce endorphins that help ease feelings of anxiety. I personally find that strenuous exercise every day is very meaningful to maintaining my personal positive outlook. If I am running, I use this time to reflect, uninterrupted, on what I want to change in my life, what feelings I want to invite into my mind, and how I want to manifest my intentions in my life. For someone else, it might be as simple as taking the time for a walk with friend (even at a 6 feet social distance).
To view the full interview with Antonia featured on Thrive Global, please click here.