Reducing Anxiety in 2020

This Saturday is July 4th. On Sunday, we have a full moon. And I feel nervous.

Anxiety, irritation, and distraction seem to be more present as our society opens up, a little at a time. I see it in stores. A person walking down an aisle looking at her cell phone, oblivious to the people around her, not paying attention to social distancing. I especially experience it while driving. People cutting in, not staying in their lanes, and speeding. I am practicing defensive driving more than ever.

To mask or not to mask
Governor Newsom ordered Californians to wear masks. This was not to take away our rights as Americans but to protect others and help to control the spread of the coronavirus.

And then, there are the fireworks booths popping up all over the place. I love controlled fireworks.  But fires and loud unexpected bangs scare me. It’s easy for my anxiety level to rise in the midst of the collective, chronic anxiety of the pandemic, economic uncertainty, racism, and social injustice. I have to be more mindful to keep myself grounded. I look for the good in every day and give thanks for it.

We are getting antsier
We want to get out and be with our family and friends. We want to see each other’s faces, shake hands and hug one another, again. Yet, the COVID cases are on the rise in many parts of the state and country. There is both a push to protect ourselves and one another, and a pull to get out and about.

The paradox of push and pull
It’s challenging for the human brain to hold both the push and the pull; to reconcile the difference. Our brain wants our thoughts to fit into a nice, neat box. Our brain likes RIGHT or WRONG, BLACK or WHITE, GOOD or BAD, ALL or NOTHING. It wants to know the answer because then, we think we will be safe. That might have been true thousands of years ago, but in 2020 human beings are much more complicated than good or bad, right or wrong.

Struggle and frustration on the rise
Over the past week, I’m seeing more and more clients who are struggling and frustrated with a loved one. Problems such as adult children being impatient and overly protective of their parents, wives talking from another room, or husbands who aren’t paying attention. Toss in hearing loss and everything becomes more challenging. You say, “I can’t hear you!” only to have the other person raise their voice and shout at you.  That does not help. (Next week, I’m going to address this with some great information and some simple advice!)

What to do when our brain is busy with anxiety-producing thoughts
Get into your body. Soothing your body soothes your mind. Here are a few suggestions you might practice, whether you live alone or with someone:

  1. Give or get a hug; a loooong hug of more than one minute and relax into that hug
  2. Listen to your loved one’s breath and sync your breathing to their breathing
  3. Listen to your own breathing – exhale just a bit longer than you inhale
  4. Tell a family member or friend one thing that you like about them.
  5. Ask a family member or friend to tell you one thing they like about you.
  6. Hold hands.
  7. Practice DEEP TOUCH – place your hand on your loved one’s heart center for a moment (or two!) applying light pressure – this is very grounding and soothing.
  8. If you live alone, place your hands over your heart with some pressure and feel your breath – this is incredibly soothing.
  9. Call someone and tell them you are calling to connect – then, practice #4 and #5.
  10. Call us at Avalon to connect.

Most importantly, take one day at a time. It’s a great way to reduce your anxiety and frustration. Just be in this day and stop your thoughts if you get out into the future.

May this day be gentle for you. And know that your Avalon family is here for you!

Yours for CONNECTED Hearing & Living,

Betty Vosters-Kemp, BC-HIS
Owner, Avalon Hearing Aid Centers, Inc.
Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist

P.S. Your Avalon family is here to connect with you and help you stay connected!