People believe that positive thinking is about thinking that "everything will work out great all of the time" it isn't. It is about focusing on the present, what is going well and what they can do to make a situation better. - Will Bowen
I wrote a Facebook and Instagram post only a few days ago, about how the level of stress we can handle feels much less than usual for us right now. When we are stressed, it can affect our ability to think rationally and to regulate our emotions, meaning the way we respond to situations is more chaotic or rigid than usual.
It is often the anxiety within us that responds first to stressful situations.
It is the body's alarm and survival mechanism. Our body's way of attempting to protect us and response to danger. This happens whether the danger is real, or whether we believe the danger is there when there is none. ( I like to think of it as a button that is pushed when we are in danger that sometimes gets pushed at the wrong times or becomes a little stuck)
It's safe to say the Coronavirus has brought for many of us, massive amounts of anxiety, uncertainty and fear
Before we know it we can find ourselves caught up in what if statements where our perceptions of situations and circumstances become skewed, developing patterns of thinking that are irrational, they are so subtle that it can be difficult to recognise them.
Some of the most common ones are:
The more we can recognise that our thoughts aren’t always helpful, that thoughts are not fact and are often driven by our emotions and the way we feel.
I know more about stress and how this can influence my feelings and behaviour now what do I do?
When we are anxious we breathe shorter, shallower breaths so this it a way of calming giving our body the oxygen it needs
Step 1: Place your hand on your tummy and breathe in slowly through your nose to fill your lungs with air. Imagining there is a balloon inside your tummy. Every time you breathe in, the balloon inflates. Notice the sensations in your tummy, your tummy rising with the in-breath.
Step 2: Now open your mouth and slowly blow all of the air back out of your lungs, when you breathe out the balloon deflates. Allow your tummy to sink. Notice the sensations in your tummy as it falls with the out-breath
Remember that thoughts will come into your mind, and that’s okay.
We have that covered too!
Simply notice those thoughts, you don't have to follow them, judge yourself for having them or analyse them. Let them drift away as you bring your attention back to your breathing.
Okay, but I wanted to be able to help myself how can I?
Try and create some certainty for yourself with a new temporary routine that will help to calm any anxious gremlins that are going around in our heads.
In the morning
During the day
In the evening
We are all individual, and what works for one person may not work for another. Please feel free to take what you need, adapting it to suit you and your needs.
If you are accessing support through therapy/ counselling ask if your session can take place online or over the phone. If you would like to discuss this further or anything covered in this blog