A delayed second blog post for ya! Sorry about that, I got distracted and with the long weekend, completely forgot to upload this post. Happy belated Easter, I hope everyone got to connect with their loved ones in a safe way. Last week's topic was adapting to our new normal.
Here is the question I got last week:
1) What can I do when I feel trapped in the situation? It’s very triggering.
Essentially, how can we cope with what is going on right now?
For this tough question (and topic!) I looked to some outside experts for their excellent advice:
From podcast with Dr. Levine (Reference #1)
1) Responding to feelings with a mental exercise
Do you notice feelings come up? Notice the fear, a specific bodily sensation (twisting gut, strained neck). Then we have thoughts and tend to catastrophize thoughts. When you have that thought, preface with “I have the words that”. This allows you to separate a little bit from the thought, and know that the thought is not reality.
Be aware of sensations that underly the emotion and separate them out enough. No feeling is the endpoint. When we are able to be in touch with our feelings they will shift, change, and will end up being more positive and help us through tough times.
2) Responding to feelings with a physical exercise
Fear is something that physically happens in the body
To get past fear, we must engage our bodies: move (listen to music that moves you, dance, exercise, yoga, stretching, dancing, walking, etc).
What happens in the brain also happens in the body, so having new experiences in the body that contradict those of the fear and helplessness and the body is signaling to the brain that things are okay.
3) Working together
Right now, a lot of us have to rely on ourselves and the ability to self-regulate. Stress makes us more susceptible to the virus, and social engagement is a big part of it. Physically separated but socially connected (and in rhythm with the music!) Support each other: practice exercises together, when we’re guiding each other then we are able to have a little distance from what’s happening.
4) Keep a realistic perspective, connect with yourself
Dial it down and think “what can I do? How can I regulate myself while staying informed?”