by Holly Schweitzer Dunn, LISW

In a time where the whole world feels that nagging sense of worry and concern, we can take wisdom from those who have experience in this area: those with ongoing anxiety. Holly Schweitzer Dunn, LISW, has heard this three times already this week:  “Having anxiety has helped me know what to do during all this craziness.”

There is a lot we can learn from people with anxiety.  As one client said, “I’ve been preparing my whole life for this.”  People who manage their anxiety daily are well-equipped to handle their emotions during this coronavirus unrest.  This is important to remember:  You’ve got this.  We’ve got this.
Here are a few of the good reminders we’ve heard over the last few days:
  • Pausing to be in the moment makes all the difference.  It allows me to remember I am safe in this moment.
  • It is most helpful to focus on what is within my control.  How I act, how I think, what I do with my time- these are controlled by me.
  • Balancing out fear thoughts is key to feeling balanced and stable.
  • Challenging my irrational fears by focusing on what I know is true- based on the evidence around me- brings me back into safety.
  • Thoughts lead to feelings lead to behaviors- when I am in control of my thoughts I am in control of the rest of me.

Our clients with anxiety are showing us the importance of practicing mindfulness consistently. We build the skills of paying attention to thoughts, feelings and sensations when we’re not in moments of panic.  Then when bigger threats do arise, the skills to navigate the stress are more accessible to us.

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