Q. I am feeling overwhelmed (and scared) with all the political rhetoric, declining prices at the pump (resulting in the loss of jobs), the out of control cost of pharmaceutical drugs……..what is happening in our world? As one person, I know there is nothing I can do but how can I cope better and lower my anxiety?
A. There are many things happening in our daily lives that we have no control over. Feeling powerless can be frightening, causing anxiety and worry. I think it is good to be informed, knowledge is a powerful tool but when is it time to turn the channel and take a break?
Everyone has seen lists for ways to de-stress but I’m not sure we are taking them seriously. We are not recognizing that even though we do not have control over pharmaceutical pricing or making politicians honest, we do have control over OUR behavior and the choices we make. That is important to remember.
When life feels overwhelming and you are emotionally drained do you remember to breathe? Anxiety changes our breathing. I have had very anxious patients whose anxiety decreased almost immediately with simple focusing exercises. They were surprised how quickly it worked. You don’t always NEED A PILL!!
As lifeless as you may feel, putting on your walking shoes and going to the park, or neighborhood or treadmill will burn off anxiety and stress. Many tired, anxious people feel physically tired but in reality they really do have the energy to go for a walk; it just doesn’t feel like it.
I recently heard that the top selling books on Amazon were ADULT coloring books!! How long has it been since you picked up your box of 96 crayons and your Star Wars coloring book? When I color with children I realize after a few minutes how calm I feel. Plus children compliment me when I stay in the lines.
Spending time with people who share positive energy is a must. There are some people that we really enjoy being around. They make us feel good. Seek them out and spend more time with them.
Break out of your daily routine. If you get an invitation to attend a party, go to a movie or dinner at your favorite restaurant…..say yes!! Sometimes we make plans early in the week and by Friday we feel too tired to go……..go anyway!!!
Most people feel overwhelmed at times and share your concern about what is going on in our world, most of which we have no control over. But remember we do have control over how we deal with it.
Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City
If you would like to send a question to Vicki, email us at [email protected]