We’re all experiencing anxiety these days. We don’t know what the future holds; we’re isolated from supportive environments and people; we can even feel abandoned by God. And our bodies make it worse, because they’re treating the discomfort of anxiety as danger to our organisms.
What do we do when we’re in danger? Our bodies have only three responses: fight, flight, and freeze. None of those responses is helpful in our current situation. But there are some things we can do that will help alleviate some of the distress and discomfort of anxiety:
- Remind yourself: you’re okay and you’re not alone. Everybody is experiencing anxiety right now. Try writing down your worries, getting as granular and close to the root cause as possible. As you write, what may have seemed like an overwhelming, murky constellation of problems will suddenly come into focus and be narrowed down to a set of realistic concerns.
- Be easy on yourself. Some days will be worse than others. It’s important to cut yourself some slack on the days you’re feeling bad—days, even, when things do seem unmanageable. We’re living through a global health crisis, after all; times are tough, they’re stressful, and struggling with dark thoughts or overwhelming feelings is to be expected.
- Use your tools. We’re so blessed to have our faith to help us keep perspective through this terrible time. There are many online opportunities—to join a prayer circle, to stream Mass, to read spiritual classics—as well as your own devotions. Why not say a Hail Mary during your handwashing time? Why not add an Examen at the end of the day? These practices will all help you keep your anxiety at a social distance!
We’re all so used to being in control, so see this time as an opportunity to know that God’s in control, and to just give him more control: let go, and let God.