AMITA Psychologist tips to ease anxiety, activities ideas

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Earlier this evening, AMITA Health Psychologist Dr. Cliff Saper offered tips on how to manage anxiety during these times of stress. 

Among the various tips Dr. Saper advises area residents to:

  • Manage your information intake.  Take breaks from constant exposure to news, internet and other media.
  • Focus on what you can control.  Let go of what you can’t.  Washing your hands, staying at home as much as you can and spending time with your family are all things that are within your control.
  • Stay connected.  Keep in touch with your family and friends via social media and phone calls.
  • Skip “Safety Behaviors” A “safety behavior is an action intended to make you feel safer but doesn’t actually make you safer.  Typically these behaviors trigger heightened anxiety rather than lower it.  An example might be the hoarding of bottled water and toilet paper.
  • Stick to a Routine.  Even if you are self quarantined, structure can be crucial to managing anxiety.  Schedule a time to exercise, go outside, read a book, start a project, and reach out to others.  Pair your routine with a productive sleep schedule with a consistent bedtime and wake time.
  • Practice “Mindful Emotional Awareness”  Anxiety often leads us to worry about what happened in the past or what might happen in the future.  Focusing on the present may make the situation feel more manageable.  Just a few minutes of meditation, yoga or mindfulness each day will help reduce your reactivity to anxiety.
  • Rethink your Thinking Examine immediate “automatic negative thoughts” to see if there are other ways you could think about the situation. Instead of: “I will go stir crazy staying inside home for two weeks” Think: “These two weeks will give me a chance to accomplish some tasks I would never otherwise get around to.” (Example George R.R. Martin, Kevin Smith)
  • Be Kind to Yourself Try not to be so self-critical or judgmental.  And if you need help, it’s strength, not weakness, to ask for it.
  • Understanding the facts about prevention is important, follow recommendations from the CDC, IDPH and WHO.

Here are some of our tips for releasing anxiety you might enjoy during this time.

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