Jessica Robinson
Written by
Jessica Robinson

“Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strengths.” – Corrie Ten Boom 

Anxiety and worry both serve no purpose in our life other than robbing us of inner joy, peace and happiness. They lock us in a cage, make our days miserable and lead us to miss the beauty of our life. Anxiety keeps us occupied with thoughts about things that could go wrong in an uncertain future and prevents us from living our life fully. We feel restless and tired. This is especially true during the current times of the pandemic. 

Most of us have been engulfed by restlessness. The global development of the pandemic and massive casualties have thrown us all into a pit of restlessness. But, do we want to continue living in this restless state? No, we don’t! We want the pandemic to end and our lives to be joyous and peaceful again. However, we don’t know when things will return to normal. The different mutations of the Coronavirus have made it challenging for the world to conquer it. 

This leaves us with two choices. One is to keep living in a state of restlessness till the pandemic ends (which is completely uncertain), the other one is to find calm amidst the chaos. If we choose the first one, we’ll miss many more of our precious days because of anxiety and worrying like we have already missed many. If we choose the second, we can live the best of our lives even during the challenging pandemic. 

In the words of Wayne Dyer, “ You cannot always control what goes on outside but we can always control what goes inside.” Believe it or not, you have the power to control your inner world. This means that we can manage our anxiety and prevent it from making us suffer unnecessarily. 

So, which choice will you make?

I’m sure you’ll choose the second option. Now that you have chosen the second option, let’s discuss the MASTER path for anxiety management that will help you live at your best even during the pandemic. 

The MASTER path for anxiety management: 

Mindfulness: 

“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry- all forms of fear- are caused by too much future and not enough presence.” – Eckhart Tolle 

These words by Eckhart Tolle are eye-opening. If you observe closely, you’ll find that anxiety, tension, stress, fear, all these things are a product of being too engrossed in thinking and not being in the moment. 

For example, if you do not think about getting sick in the future but instead be completely engrossed in doing your day-to-day tasks, can you be anxious? The answer is no. Similarly, when we engage in risky acts like reckless driving and mountain climbing, we don’t feel anxious. Rather, we enjoy them. Have you ever thought about why we enjoy those dangerous activities? The answer is because these dangerous activities force us into intense presence. We are completely involved in the moment. After all, losing attention will mean losing our life. As a result, there are no thoughts, just absolute attention which brings us deep inner joy and peace. 

So, you can keep anxious thoughts at bay by being absolutely present in the now. You don’t have to engage in any dangerous activities for this as mindfulness can help you connect with the present moment safely. 

How to practice mindfulness? 

Your senses are the gateways to mindfulness. Every day you should try to spend at least 20 minutes, connecting with the moment through your senses. For example, you can sit with your eyes closed and notice the sounds happening around. You may also engage in active looking which is to look with absolute attention. For example, if you see a plant, look at its color, the shape of its leaves, and so on. Such simple mindfulness exercises will slowly help you develop a habit of being involved in the now, without engaging in future imaginations. 

Avoid being too critical of yourself: 

“You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise L. Hay 

Most of us are too critical of ourselves and we have become even more critical during these challenging times. When we feel anxious, we scold ourselves for that. But, when we see someone else feeling anxious, do we do the same? No! Instead, we extend a supportive hand and help them calm down. 

Now, it is time that we start extending the same support to ourselves as well. During our weak moments, we should be our support and not a critic. We need to stop forcing ourselves to be perfect. No one in this world can ever be perfect. But, you are beautiful as you are. So, allow yourself to feel anxious. Remember that it is okay to be human and feel anxious. Don’t be too critical of yourself because it strengthens anxiety. 

Next time, when you find yourself feeling anxious, hold your hands and support yourself like you would support a child. Believe me, this will transform your relationship with yourself which will help you find inner peace and reduce your anxiousness. 

Sleep at least 8 hours every day: 

“Sleep is the best meditation” – Dalai Lama 

According to research, deep sleep can help treat anxiety. It has been found that a sleepless night can raise anxiety by up to 30%. Whereas, a night of peaceful deep sleep, has a healing impact on the brain which relieves anxiety. So, to keep your anxiety levels managed during these challenging times, it is crucial for you to sleep for at least 8 hours every day. But, many times, anxiety causes sleep disturbance. If this is true for you too and you cannot sleep well at night, the following are some things that can help you induce deep sleep: 

    • Try sleep meditation:
      Meditation induces deep inner peace and relaxation. It can help your mind unwind at night and induce deep sleep. So, you can try sleep meditation to help yourself sleep better at night. Calm, Jason Stephenson, and PowerThoughts Meditation Club are some YouTube channels where you can find effective sleep-guided meditation videos. Even a short meditation session for 10 to 15 minutes will be beneficial for you.
    • Listen to your favorite soft music before sleeping:
      Music has a therapeutic effect on the brain. It can induce inner calm, soothe your anxious mind and help you sleep better. So, you can try listening to your favorite soft music before sleeping.
    • Take a warm water bath an hour or two before sleep:
      According to research, taking a warm water bath an hour or two before sleep can help treat insomnia and improve the quality of sleep. This technique works well even during summer. So, you should try to take a warm water bath an hour or two before sleeping at night.
    • Practice gratitude before bed:
      One of the best ways to calm your anxious mind is to practice gratitude. When you practice gratitude, you count the good in your life. This makes you feel positive which further triggers relaxation. When you feel relaxed, you can sleep easily and in a better manner. So, before going to sleep, you should try to practice gratitude. You can write at least three things that you are grateful for on a particular day. It is better to try writing different things every day.
    • Avoid using screens before bed:
      Digital screens emit blue light which is the same light that we get exposed to during the day. As a result, using digital screens before bed gives our body and brain an impression that it is still daytime. This hampers the production of melatonin- the sleep hormone. So, to prepare your body for sleep, it is better not to use screens before bed.

Take a self-care initiative: 

“Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first, it means me too.” – L.R. Knost 

Many times, we get so busy shouldering our responsibilities and taking care of our loved ones and others that we forget to look after ourselves. Sometimes, we also feel that we don’t need to look after ourselves. But, that’s not true. We cannot serve others if we don’t look after ourselves. Moreover, it becomes extremely important for you to engage in self-care during these challenging times. We all have an inner child within who has become really anxious during the pandemic. By looking after yourself, you can make your inner child feel safe and reduce your anxiety levels. Further, as you start looking after yourself sincerely, you’ll feel empowered and relaxed. So, you should take a self-care initiative. Following are some simple self-care activities that you can try: 

    • Give yourself a massage:
      Body massage is one of the best self-care practices that you can engage in. Your mind and body are connected and they need your love. By tending to your body, you can heal your mind. Research has shown that massage can help reduce stress and anxiety. This makes it important for you to include massage in your daily routine during these challenging times. You can use aromatic oils to make body massage an even more relaxing experience for yourself.
    • Express gratitude towards your body:
      Your body does a lot to sustain your life. There are different things happening in your body without you realizing it. For example, your digestive system isn’t as simple as it seems. Try watching ‘Human Digestive System- how it works!’ on YouTube. It will surprise you. You’ll feel grateful towards your digestive system for what it does for you every single day of your life. If you express deep gratitude towards your body daily, you’ll feel really happy. Every cell in your body will bubble with joy. This will induce deep relaxation in your body and mind. Your anxiety levels will also begin to drop as you’ll start feeling good in your own body. So, you should try to name different parts of your body and thank them for what they do for you every day.
    • Engage in positive self-talk:
      Positive self-talk is another amazing self-care practice that you can engage in. If you practice thought awareness you’ll come to know that unconsciously we engage in negative self-talk in our minds. We say negative things about ourselves. For example, sometimes we call ourselves weak, impatient, etc. We focus more on our negative qualities as compared to the positive ones. This robs our self-esteem, spoils our relationship with ourselves, and leads to anxiety. Now is the time that we change this habit. You should try to engage in positive self-talk. Speak to yourself while standing in front of a mirror and list some positive qualities that you see in yourself. Believe me, this will add immense happiness to your life and also reduce your anxiety levels.

Exercise: 

“I enjoy working out because I struggle with anxiety, and exercise has been a great way for me to combat that.” – Franchesca Ramsey 

Exercise is a wonderful way to feel good about yourself and beat anxiety. When you exercise, your body gets flooded with happy hormones like Serotonin and Dopamine which uplift your mood and reduce anxiety. This means that if you exercise regularly, you can enhance your overall happiness and also keep your anxiety levels managed during the pandemic. Even if you exercise for 20 minutes a day, it’ll be enough. Skipping, Zumba, Aerobics, Cycling, and Running are some simple and enjoyable exercises that you can incorporate into your life. Moreover, to add an element of excitement to your workout routine, you can try performing different exercises on different days of the week. 

Reframe your thoughts: 

“Don’t believe every worried thought you have. Worried thoughts are notoriously inaccurate.” – Renee Jain 

Negative thoughts are one of the biggest culprits behind anxiety. We naturally focus more on negative things and scenarios as they can threaten our survival. Take the case of the pandemic, no doubt there have been massive casualties but the recovery rate is much higher than the mortality rate. Still, most of us have associated Covid with death, which makes us really anxious. It is not that we shouldn’t feel worried. It is natural to feel worried, but if we reframe our thoughts and associate covid with healing and recovery, our anxiety levels won’t turn out to be severe. As a result, we won’t have to manage another problem with the previously existing one.

 So, whenever you feel anxious or worried, observe your thoughts. See what you are thinking, reframe your thoughts and align them in a positive direction. This can make a lot of difference. If you can imagine worst-case scenarios, then you can also imagine the best scenarios for yourself. After all, the latter is better. 

It is natural to feel anxious during a pandemic. But, it is important not to let anxiety ruin the beauty of our lives and rob us of inner joy, peace, and happiness. If you start undertaking your journey on the MASTER path for anxiety management, you’ll soon find yourself to be calmer and happier. Now, wishing you All the Best and immense happiness in life. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *