Tips for Staying Calm During Times of Uncertainty
Contributed by the team at Premier Sports Psychology. You can learn more about their mindset program here and get 20% off by entering code LeagueApps at checkout. To purchase a team or organizational license, email Tfinley@premiersportpsychology.com.
When faced with uncertainty, it’s only natural to feel worried, anxious, or fearful. However, it doesn’t have to be the new norm.
Consider the following tips to help you maintain a sense of normalcy, security, and calm if you’re feeling a bit more anxious lately.
Try to embrace the unknown
Our minds naturally look for threats in our environments, focusing on the worst case scenario, and subconsciously seeking “to know.” While this is meant to protect us, it can be exhausting and anxiety provoking to worry about the “what ifs” all day long. And it can result in greater feelings of anxiety. If you catch your train of thought going down negative paths or focusing on what you’re unsure of, simply acknowledge that it’s your brain’s natural way of coping. Try to avoid compulsions (eg. panic texting a friend or diving into social media feeds), and instead…
Keep it in context
While there is certainly a level of precaution we should all consider to stay healthy, look to the facts to keep any fears you may have in check. The data that we currently have is very likely to change over time (for the better!) and the rates of severe cases or fatality are continuing to drop. Limit how much time you spend listening to the news or using social media each day. And remember, as a result of our natural tendencies, our brains typically tend to over-exaggerate any real threat and underestimate how strong and resilient the human body and mind really are.
Focus on the controllables
It’s normal to want to protect ourselves and our loved ones. And, we can choose to focus on the areas in which we have control to do so. Follow the recommendations put forth by the CDC or your primary care provider. Buy some extra groceries if your cupboards need to be restocked. Clean or disinfect commonly used household surfaces. Just don’t overdo it. Taking extreme measures can make you feel like you’re in greater danger than you really are (and increase those feelings of anxiety).
There are many benefits associated with practicing mindfulness, which is the ability to remain in your present moment experience, purposefully and without (or with minimal) judgement. You can do this throughout the day, simply taking time to observe your present-moment experience (eg. thoughts and emotions), and shifting your focus if you need to. Acknowledge, let go, and shift your attention to the thoughts and feelings that are more constructive. Or, simply change what you’re doing: go for a walk, take some deep breaths, or download an app to walk you through a mindfulness meditation exercise.
Reach out to others and connect
Stay connected with your friends and loved ones: give them a call or FaceTime them to talk about things if you’re feeling overwhelmed. If what you’re experiencing is too intense or if you’re concerned about your mental health and wellbeing, reach out to an expert.
Maintain your wellbeing
Eat well, sleep well, and be well. Get some exercise or spend some time in nature. One of the best things you can do to reduce or prevent anxiety is to strengthen your self care.