As we walk through unprecedented times, I have found myself being anxious – often inexplicably – about what is going on in the world – and what is going on in my life. If we are to be effective – not only in our jobs, but in our families and in our schools – we need to understand anxiety – learn how to handle it – and learn how to help our kids (both those in your home and in your classroom) understand it.
Disclaimer: There is general anxiety – and there is an anxiety disorder. If you (or the people in your life) think you may have an anxiety (or any other mental health) disorder – PLEASE GET HELP. I’m not a trained psychologist or counselor. These are simply my observations – and tools that I use to help control my own anxiety.
Anxiety and fear do not live in the present. They live in the past or the future.
Think about it – when you are anxious, it is about something that has happened or something that may happen (even one second from now – it’s still the future).
You were designed to handle “now” exceptionally well. No matter how stressful the future is, you can handle “now” because it is always “now”, and “now” isn’t all that bad.
So, if you are anxious about the past, or fearful of the future, look for ways to ground yourself in “now”.
Find someplace quiet.
What are five things you can see? Name them. Describe them. Look at them.
What are four things that you can touch? Actually touch them. How do they feel? How do they make you feel as you are touching them?
What are three things you can hear? Are they pleasant sounds? Are they sounds you may have not expected?
What are two things you can smell? Name them. Are they pleasing smells?
Name one thing you can taste. Right now.
This isn’t mysticism, it isn’t “new-age” mumbo-jumbo. It is taking a minute to focus on what is, to take your mind captive, to set your anxiety aside long enough to “cast your fears upon God” (should that be what you decide to do with them).
If you are fearful or anxious – take a minute to focus on what is – it will clarify what has been and put what might be back into perspective.