How to Calm Yourself The Hell Down

It’s more important than ever

There’s a new kind of anxiety

Until now we’ve talked about anxiety as a condition faced only by a handful of people. We’ve described it as irrational. We read articles telling us it’s just our cave brains kicking in for no reason.

Panic makes everything worse

The way we feel right now makes sense. But how we choose to act makes all the difference. The emotionally-mature among us are following the protocols and staying home. We’ve stocked pantries with reasonable amounts of food (and office supplies) to last a few weeks.

Admit that you’re scared

Every rational human on the planet should be worried. Young people should be worried. Healthy people should be worried. If you’re not scared of the virus, think about your loved ones. Think about the consequences of a healthcare system that’s already strained, soon to be swarmed with COVID-19 patients. Think of the corresponding social unrest.

Process your panic attack

Panic attacks don’t always happen the way they do on TV shows. You could have a mild panic attack without even realizing it. There’s a handful of steps you follow when you feel stressed to your breaking point:

  1. Accept your panic attack. Don’t fight it.
  2. Go somewhere that feels secure.
  3. If you can’t, imagine yourself somewhere peaceful.
  4. Close your eyes and touch something.
  5. Repeat a short mantra (if that’s your thing).
  6. Focus on one thing in the room.

Shift your routines, but don’t abandon them

You might be ready to throw your habits and routines out the window. What’s the point, right? Actually — they matter more than ever. You needed these to live well when the world was halfway functional. Now your life could actually depend on having a balanced, well rested mind.

Do something you deeply enjoy

This melts stress like nothing else. You have hobbies. If nothing else, you have more time for them now.

Keep yourself informed, not over-informed

We already knew that consuming too much headline news turned our brains into raisins. As with anything, emergencies trigger us to abandon what’s good for us and double down on the junk. We’ll be tempted to pound more snacks while mainlining the most alarmist stories.

Give yourself a little break

Yes, you’re working from home. You’re taking care of kids, or maybe a family member. Don’t exhaust yourself. Let yourself relax. Watch some dumb TV show. Read a book. Go for walks. If you live with someone, give each other some personal space and quiet time.

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