Kathy Murphy

While on a virtual meeting the other day, I was talking to a someone who is in the healthcare industry. He is also an expert in mental health, and works with many people between the ages of 18-23. During our conversation, he revealed how people in this age range are struggling with their anxiety levels right now. He also acknowledged it wasn’t simply this age range that is struggling. Unfortunately, I was not surprised by this news.

I asked what was the single reason, or most referenced concern people said was causing their anxiety. His response surprised me slightly, but it does make sense. He noted that it is the increased lack of knowing what is going to happen in their respective lives that is spiking their anxiety levels.

Right now, all of us are living at a time when the word combo of “precarious situation” could be used to describe also how we feel. In plain English, uncertainty is what is currently ruling our days.

However, like many other feelings, uncertainty can be corralled. We can also apply more control than you realize, to help us reduce our anxiety levels. For starters, doing this takes looking at our respective scenarios from a different perspective from what you are facing. The questions I want you to honestly answer are: Are you willing to do this? What is the worst thing that would happen if you don’t? Perhaps you will continue to feel more anxious? I’m certain no one wants to feel a higher level than they presently do.

As an external optimist, I believe my skill set in this area are needed more than ever right now. I also feel fortunate to be My ability to contribute helping others feel less anxious is intended to purely help others feel a reduced sense of lack of control. If I am able to simply help one person, then I am grateful for being able to do so.

When I choose the name of my first book called “Wisdom Whisperer”, I intentionally did this. Why? Because the information I am sharing with others I consider to be wisdom others can benefit from…should they decide to listen. Hence the reference to “whispering” versus overtly shouting out what I am conveying.

The good news I was referencing about being able to control or reduce our anxiety levels, is with the intent of doing so without medication.  The reality is that I am not a healthcare professional, so I cannot prescribe medication. From a science and medical perspective, there are levels of anxiety that require medication, but most people can control theirs without it. However, if you require anxiety medication and it helps you, even temporarily, consider yourself fortunate to have found a solution. Especially in the time period we are in.

For those of you who believe you do not need to seek medication as a solution, here are some ideas for you to consider exploring and trying to see if they can help you to take back control of your anxiety level. Many of these will be ones you have heard of before. Perhaps even using currently, but for those who have not had to deal with anxiety before, this list is for you. Thank you to my professional mental health connection for suggesting these solutions.

  • Think about anything other than what is contributing to your anxiety. For many of you, watching, listening or reading about Covid 19 for any length of time, every day, and for excessive periods of time is not helping you. Reduce your intake of the news reports.
  • If you live alone, please make time to talk to your friends on the phone or via a video conference. Texting is Ok, but seeing the other person or multiple people you can talk to will make you feel much better. I had my second virtual “party” on Saturday night. For a number of my friends, it was the first time they had experienced the beneficial positive feeling and power of getting together and talking this way. A number of them said it simulated better than they expected what a real party would be like.
  • Exercise. Any type counts. More importantly, try to do some type that you enjoy, and that could even feel like it is fun! Dancing around counts, so crank up your favorite music and start dancing.
  • Distract yourself with learning how to do something you have always said…I have always wanted to learn how to (fill-in-the-blank).
  • Change your diet. This is a great time to manipulate how you feel by feeling better by actually making an attempt to eat more healthy food. We all know that sugar is not our friend…although I know it tastes really good. Start by trying to cut down on the amount of sugar you eat every day. It will be easier than you think. One thing I did was to eat a piece of fruit, instead of having some ice cream.
  • Do something nice for someone else. You know the expression “It is always better to give than to receive”. My neighbor just texted me and said she has an open bottle of wine she used a small amount of in a recipe. She doesn’t like red wine, so she asked if I wanted to have the rest of the bottle. This has to be the best morning offer I have received in years! Although, I won’t be enjoying the wine until dinner tonight.
  • Loan your time and teach somebody how to do a skill you have mastered. Perhaps ask someone you know to teach you what they are a pro at doing, and then ask them if you can reciprocate. Or, introduce them to someone you know who can teach them a new skill.
  • Keep in mind that your anxiety level will decrease, and that now you have some basic techniques to help you to bring it down.

Please think of this list a catalyst. One intended to serve as a reminder about how to decrease our anxiety levels. My one request? If you made it to the end of this article, please share with me or others at least one of your own techniques to reduce anxiety. Thank you in advance for doing so, and stay healthy my friends, both physically and mentally.

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