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8 Techniques For Reducing Anxiety And Stress Right Now

With the ongoing pandemic, are you feeling more stressed out and anxious than usual? Well, then there are certain things you can do for reducing anxiety!

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“Even in the midst of life’s many storms, we have the capacity to stand in the center of our own peace.” – Unknown

If you’ve been experiencing increased anxiety recently, you certainly aren’t alone. Most of us stick to schedules; we like to have our lives planned out, day by day. Many of us need to have some idea of what the future holds for us. But currently, we’re all living in extreme uncertainty as we face a global health crisis, a financial crisis, and an anxious environment—all while social-distancing at home. Some of us are totally alone, some with anxious or abusive partners, others with children. Many of us are struggling in ways we’ve never had to before.

Whether or not you were prone to anxiety before this pandemic came roaring through your life, you might be feeling a heightened sense of worry or panic these days. You might be wondering how you’re going to keep it together while you navigate these uncertain times.

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How are you supposed to handle all of this when you can barely breathe? When your muscles are so tight? When your new baseline is a mix of agitation and anger? When you cycle through bursts of laziness and energy? When every part of you wants to scream, “I have to get out!”? When all you can seem to do is daydream about better times? When all you seem to yearn for is your former life?

 

As we all live through what seems like a nightmare, how can we find ways to feel less stressed and anxious?

One optimistic way of looking at the situation we’re currently in is to see it as an opportunity to start working on our response to anxiety’s presence in our lives. Essentially, we can use this time to work on our relationships and ourselves, building new coping skills, and coming out of this better than before.

We all have anxiety—and for a very good reason. In fact, if we weren’t anxious by nature, we wouldn’t be here right now. In every living thing, anxiety is part of the survival instinct, the built-in response to perceived threats. This is what makes us drive carefully in a rainstorm and avoid walking too close to the edge of a cliff. It’s our inner alarm system. It helps keep us alive. All living things have it. Even animals, running for their lives from the predators chasing them down, display anxiety. That’s what gets them moving.

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When seen in this way, anxiety isn’t pathological or dysfunctional; it’s a natural and appropriate response to a perceived threat.

It’s a fact that anxiety has important adaptive functions for us. However, like most things in life, too much or too little of it reduces our ability to function and hinders how well we adapt to new situations. Although anxiety plays an important role in our survival, there’s more to learn and know about it, especially when it starts to create problems in our lives and relationships.

Want to know more about how you can work towards reducing anxiety? Read Coronavirus Anxiety: 5 Things You Can Do To Beat It

When it comes to anxiety and its effects, it’s important to remember that the more we try to avoid it or relieve ourselves of it, the more intense it becomes.

I know that doesn’t seem too logical. After all, we’ve been taught to think that when we face a problem, we should try to fix it. However, anxiety is different from most other issues we face. Our brains interpret avoidance as confirmation of danger, so the more energy we use to push the anxiety away, the more our alert system gets activated, and the more powerfully our anxiety rears its ugly head.

The best way to manage ourselves during a pandemic isn’t to try and avoid our feelings; it’s to try and transform our relationship with anxiety. Anxiety is totally uncomfortable, and it’s hard to accept or embrace it. But if we can see it as a signal from our bodies and brains that’s alerting us to a threat, maybe we can tolerate it a little better.

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Ilene Strauss Cohen Ph.D.https://doctorilene.com/
Dr. Ilene S. Cohen, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist, professor, and blogger. She is also the author of the popular self-help guide, When It’s Never About You, as well as co-author (with Rabbi Aryeh Weinstein) of It’s Within You. She’s a regular contributor to Psychology Today, and her work has appeared in Psych Central and Tiny Buddha, along with many other online publications. After graduating from the University of Tampa with a B.A. in Psychology, Dr. Ilene obtained her Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy from Nova Southeastern University. Both her books and her practice are fueled by her passion for helping people achieve their goals, build a strong sense of self, and lead meaningful lives. She is also guided by a passion for service and lends her time to multiple charitable causes around the world. Dr. Ilene resides in Miami, Florida with her husband and two young daughters.
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