In uncertain situations, our natural reaction as human beings is to feel fear. Any tough, uncertain path we might be facing triggers a state of stress and tension as well as its inevitable effects on our mental health.
This emotional reaction is completely natural; the problem begins when a concern escapes our control and we find ourselves living in a state of permanent alarm, constantly generating negative or worrying thoughts that can lead to anxiety and depression.
This week, we would like to share with you 5 tips to help you control difficult thoughts and maintain your emotional well-being in tough situations.
The more information…the better?
While it’s important to be up-to-date on what is happening in our communities and in the world at large, sometimes we are exposed to more information than we can process and that excess only causes us tension and irritability.
Tip #1: Specify a specific time to read about “the topic”. Do not be continuously checking in throughout the day (on the way to work, at breaks, in the gym, etc), so that your mind doesn’t become saturated and you’re not thinking about “danger” all the time.
Observe your thoughts
It is normal to feel worried. As you might have read in previous blogs, stress is a natural defense response of our body. But it’s important to be aware of any stress we’re feeling so that it doesn’t overwhelm us.
Tip #2: Watch your thoughts. Practicing meditation/mindfulness helps you become aware of what is troubling you and why, therefore empowering you to seek realistic solutions. Confused about what mindfulness is and isn’t? Check this out.
Get out of the loop
It is common for conversations to revolve around the same handful of topics. That, in addition to causing mental exhaustion, means that we always have the fear switch ON. Not good; that keeps our nervous system on high alert at all times.
Tip #3: It’s okay (and even beneficial) to talk about what worries you, but avoid doing so constantly. That will help your subconscious mind understand that the concern is not something permanent, but rather temporary.
Easier said than done…but when faced with a situation you cannot control, the healthiest thing is to accept that we cannot predict the outcome and try our best to live in the present without worrying so much about the future.
Tip #4: It is normal to feel insecure. But to prevent it from turning into anxiety, you must put your energies into what you can influence (your environment and the people you love). Practice activities that encourage awareness of the present moment, like yoga or mindfulness.
Keep your routines
Faced with fear or concern, we sometimes believe that by isolating ourselves we will be safer. Nothing is further from the truth! In times of uncertainty, it’s important to make an extra effort to continue with our routines and tap into the love and support of our community.
Tip #5: Focusing on everyday activities will help you feel in control and reduce negative thoughts. So will adding some extra wellness pursuits to your routine to keep your mind busy but at ease. Examples include getting a massage, taking a walk in nature, or dedicating time to anything that brings happiness to your heart. Check more ideas for activities that will help you create joy here.
We hope you find the above tips useful. In closing, please check out this powerful short video about overthinking.