Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, I think anxiety is an experience that many of us are more familiar with. In fact, the World Health Organization released a brief that documented an incredible 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression during the first year of the pandemic. (www.who.int/news/item/02-03-2022-covid-19-pandemic-triggers-25-increase-in-prevalence-of-anxiety-and-depression-worldwide) As people have been able to return to pre-pandemic activities, some began to feel better, but others have found themselves continuing to experience anxiety.
Potential reasons for increased anxiety:
What is one thing that you and I can do today to feel better? Simple, be present. This is something we all hear a lot these days, but what does it mean, and how can we DO it?
Anxiety stems from a focus on the future- the things that could happen tomorrow or soon, problems that might come up from a recent change, etc. Because our anxiety is often rooted in our thinking about the future, we can decrease our anxiety now by bringing our thinking to now. A simple way to do this is to focus your mind on what is around you this moment. This requires engaging your mind in a very complete way, so it is too busy to be churning out worries! A common technique is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. Here is a link to more information about this particular technique- www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/grounding-techniques.pdf
If you don't have the time to look at the worksheet, or want something more straight forward; you can just take a few moments to narrate your current environment or actions in your head- "I am sitting in a meeting with 5 of my coworkers around me. John, Sue, and Mary are looking at the boss..." The more detail you generate will equal more time for your mind to focus on the present, and move away from that future focused anxiety. And this technique can be used any time, any where!
Have you used this technique before, or did you try it after reading this? I would love to hear about it!
I am a therapist- helping people to overcome difficulties and improve their lives.