1. Slow Down & Breathe.
Take a deep breath and do not immediately react. By being patient and gathering as much information as possible, you will remain calm and less likely to overreact. Practice deep breathing or meditation and take time to refocus. Be present in your surroundings and focus. Check out some of the best meditation apps here.
2. Don’t lose it.
Amid a crisis, focus on taking care of the issue at hand and not your emotions. Step back and think about your future and not just the present situation. Meditation experts teach us that wise people do not overreact; if you respond, you can become stuck and not able to move forward. Train yourself to handle stressful situations, and you will be much more prepared for critical future situations.
“I think a lot of people are pretty freaked out already, anxious and fearful,” Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said in an interview with The Post. “As in all things, it comes down to the balance between having a reasonable concern, especially if it’s motivating to take actions that can reduce risk, versus having this take over your entire world to the point where you become paralyzed.”
3. Remove yourself from the situation.
Step outside and clear your head, go for a walk, and take your mind off the crisis at hand. Try to find an activity that stops your mind from wandering. Think of the destination where you are happiest and what it feels like being there. It will temporarily alter your situation and help you to cope better.
“Limiting your exposure to news and information can give you a break from thinking about topics that are likely contributing to your stress,” explains Alice Connors-Kellgren, a clinical psychologist at Tufts Medical Center. “This allows your brain and body to have a break from the sympathetic nervous system response that tends to wear us down.”
4. Take care of your body.
When you make health and exercise a regular part of your life, it helps to better deal with a crisis. Regular exercise lowers stress hormone levels and improves body function and builds resilience. Eating a balanced, nutritious diet and getting plenty of sleep improves your overall health. It increases memory, self-control, and emotional intelligence — essential attributes that will help you respond well in any difficult situation.
“Things like getting good sleep, eating regularly, staying hydrated, exercising. When we take care of our body, with good sleep in particular, but certainly food and water, our ability to think clearly, our ability to solve problems, our ability to manage our emotions, are all optimized.” said psychiatrist Joshua Morganstein, chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Psychiatric Dimensions of Disasters.
5. Call a trusted friend or mentor.
Reach out to friends and mentors in these trying times. You may not be able to see each other in person, but there are so many ways to connect these days through Zoom, Skype, Facetime, it is vital to stay connected. Ask them how they are dealing with the situation and share your stories for support. This connection will help you deal with your anxiety and stress.
“Understanding and reminding ourselves that we’re all going through something together, sometimes that can help us feel less alone,” Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
6. Write it down.
Journaling during a stressful life experience can be beneficial. Getting your emotions out on paper helps you to better release and deal with those feelings. When you put your situation into words, you take out some of the emotions and get an overview of what you are dealing with.
For quotes and further information, check out this CNN article.