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How To Stop Feeling Anxious and Vulnerable: 6 Powerful Tips


2. Cleaning Your Home Can Be A Way Of Soothing Yourself.

Albers further suggests that cleaning your home can be a way of soothing yourself when you are feeling anxious and vulnerable.

Doesn’t necessarily work for all of us (I’m one of the people who likes my house and office to be neat and tidy, but who’d rather do anything than clean, straighten, or neaten myself). But if it is soothing to you to clean or organize or straighten, then, by all means, use this time to do exactly that.

If you live alone, set aside some specific time or determine a particular goal, so that you don’t end the day exhausted and having done nothing but clean. If you’re with a partner, a friend, children, or any other configuration of people, get them involved in the task. Don’t worry if there’s some squabbling involved. That’s just part of being together. If it doesn’t get out of hand, it might even be a way of letting off some of the built-up anxiety!

Also read: What A Panic Attack Feels Like: 3 Science-backed Ways To Cope

3. Soothing Your Brain

Soothing your brain when feeling anxious, according to Albers, can involve reading, watching a show you love or have wanted to catch up on, or doing a craft or other kind of engaging project.

This is a good time for any and/or all of the above. Puzzles, crafts, and art projects also help when you’ve got children at home whom you’d like to get off of their technology for at least part of the day.

“When you’re feeling anxious, remember that you’re still you. You are not your anxiety.” ~Deanne Repich

4. Social Contact Can Be Extremely Important In A Time Of Heightened Anxiety And Vulnerability.

In their book Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives—How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do, scientists Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler share research about the power of social connections to impact how we feel, think, and act.

It may surprise you to realize how much social support you get from your job, but as businesses have sent their employees home to work, many of us have lost one of the most stable and comfortable casual social situations in our lives.

This is a good time to make the most of all of your support systems. Reach out to friends and family. Check-in with colleagues. Make contact with casual acquaintances.

In fact, it’s an opportunity to grow some new connections and reconnect with family and friends we haven’t had time to talk to. Also, remember those who may be having a hard time and text, call, or email them to offer them some human contact. Just the process of giving some attention to others can decrease your own sense of vulnerability.

And you might find that you get something back from them that you didn’t even expect. I contacted a friend in Italy whose busy travel schedule generally makes it hard for us to visit, but who is, because of the Italian government’s attempts to contain the virus, required to stay put. Not only was she happy to have the “virtual” contact, but she also had plenty of time to chat.

Research has shown that feeling anxious and stressed can exacerbate both physical and emotional difficulties.

The end result of all of this is something of a quandary. The decision to have people work from home is to help contain the COVID-19 virus, but both the separation from colleagues and the constant bombardment with news about the current state of the COVID-19 crisis can put an additional strain on both our bodies and our psyches.

While the desire for contact is a healthy, basic human need, it doesn’t need to translate into living with someone else, nor does it mean that those of us who identify as introverts are not psychologically healthy, as Susan Cain, a leading spokesperson for introverts and author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, has made abundantly clear!

Also read 50+ Inspirational Quotes For Depression And Anxiety

But it does mean that it’s not only OK but even a good thing if you want contact during the day. And with anxiety levels sky-high these days, it’s important to make an effort to make some contact. But it’s also important to select carefully who you are going to be in touch with.

Someone whose energy adds to your own sense of vulnerability may be comforted by speaking with you, but be sure to counteract that interaction with a conversation with someone who is calmer and more comforting to you.

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F. Diane Barth

F. Diane Barth, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City. She has a master’s degree from Columbia University School of Social Work and analytic certification from the Psychoanalytic Institute of the Postgraduate Center. She has been on the faculty and supervisory staff and a training analyst at Postgraduate, NIP, and ICP in NYC. Currently, she teaches private study groups and often runs workshops around the country. Ms. Barth’s articles have been published in the Clinical Social Work Journal, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Psychoanalytic Psychology, and other professional journals, and as chapters in a number of books. Her new book about women's friendships, I Know How You Feel: The Joy and Heartbreak of Friendship in Women's Lives ​was released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in February 2018.View Author posts