Hi guys! Welcome to the Therapy 365 podcast by Lisa Kift. In this episode, she discusses five ways to stay calm when the world doesn’t feel calm. Since we have gone through many undulations of pretty stressful situations in recent memory, Lisa believes it would be great to address this topic.
So, without wasting any time, let’s jump right in!
There is no denying that things such as the economy, war, COVID virus, and politics have been a constant factor in recent years in many people’s homes. This has undoubtedly elicited feelings of angst, uncertainty, fear, and loss of control among people, which is why Lisa recommends four ways to stay calm when the world doesn’t feel calm.
First things first, make sure that you breathe. Take deep breaths whenever you feel stressed because your breath is an excellent anchor to the present, and oxygen is an antidote to cortisol, the stress hormone. Additionally, Lisa suggests practicing mindfulness to help your brain drop into the moment and not be lost in your thoughts.
Next, she recommends naming your emotions instead of denying them because, more often than not, suppressed emotions show up in anger outbursts. If you’ve been holding onto a lot of anger, tension or angst, make sure you name them and talk about them because if you can name them, you can tame them.
Lisa suggests that creating a structure can help create a sort of containment for some people as it becomes a way to contain their emotions when they feel out of control. Furthermore, for many people, getting a structure in their lives means something they can rely on. It can help people to feel more grounded when they are feeling a lot of anxiety and dis-ease around things they can’t control.
Make sure that you keep yourself away from cognitive distortions. Although given the times we live in today, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by negative thoughts; we must consider all possible outcomes instead of staying focused on the worst possible one.
Ask yourself, “Do I have the data to support this?’ whenever you start imagining the worst possible outcome. Also, consider practicing some self-talk, as Lisa feels that it can help you learn to be more effective at challenging unhelpful thinking patterns.
Find an activity, hobby or practice that brings you relaxation and joy. When external things feel like they’re getting too much, having a regular practice can make all the difference. For Lisa, self-care is at the core of a healthy coping mechanism in difficult or stressful situations.
That brings us to the end of the summary. If you have a topic relating to emotional or relationship health that you would like Lisa to discuss in the future, please reach out to her by visiting the contact page of her website.
Other than that, she will soon be sending out weekly newsletters, so if you are interested, you can sign up for that. That’s all for today. Till next time, take care of yourselves and remember, at Therapy 365, you are always a work in progress.
Lisa B. Kift:
Hi everyone. Welcome to Therapy 365. This is Episode 11: Five Ways To Stay Calm When The World Doesn’t Feel Calm. For several years now, we in this country and in the world in general, have gone through a lot of undulations of pretty stressful situations. Many are feeling the weight of them, and a lot of people are feeling a kind of chronic tension. Things like politics, war the economy, what the economy means for people’s wallets, and a constantly evolving virus that maybe now does potentially minimal impact can actually have the potential to do long-term damage. All of these things are just some of the major topics that continue to circulate through all types of media and in discussions in many people’s homes.
So in the heat of the Pandemic, I helped support a lot of people around their general angst and uncertainty and loss of control and for a long time, real fear, you know, early on especially. And some of the tools that people found helpful then are still relevant, with the things that I mentioned above. And I’d like to share some of the most important ones that I think would be useful for you to have available if you feel burdened by uncertainty or just general angst existentially. So I’m gonna give you four of those.
Focus On Breathing To Ground Yourself [2:03]
And the first one is breathe. You know, your breath is an excellent anchor to the present, and oxygen is an antidote to cortisol, which is the stress hormone. So if you notice yourself feeling worried, take five deep, slow breaths in through your nose and out through your lips, and it might be a good time to try out a mindfulness practice as well to help your brain to be able to drop into the now and get into the moment. So again, breath and mindfulness is all, it’s very interconnected. And even if you’re not interested in starting a practice or feel that that’s too much or more than you want to do, even just the act of taking a breath in and holding it and releasing it can really help to bring down that stress response.
Identify Your Emotions To Handle Them Better [2:51]
Number two, name your emotions. So denying your emotions isn’t helpful. And there are so many ways that when you try to deny them or you think you are, they actually show up, right? They show up in anger outbursts if you’ve been holding onto a lot of anger or angst or tension. So it’s really important to learn to name your emotions, to say, Hey, I’m feeling a little worried about this, or I’m feeling kind of fearful. Rather than minimize the experience for you, if you can name your emotions, you can actually tame your emotions.
Create Lists And Structures To Reduce Anxiety [3:27]
So number three is create structure. So for many people, making lists and organizing their calendars is really soothing, and in a way it sort of creates containment for you. And for a lot of people, it helps to contain their emotions if they feel a little out of control or there’s this pervasive worry. So for many people, getting a sense of structure in their lives is something that they can rely on, and it’s every day. Like they can create lists of, on this day, I do this, or I do this on that day, or whatever. It can be as detailed or loose as you want. But I do think generally structure helps people to feel more grounded when they’re feeling a lot of anxiety or just dis-ease around things they can’t control.
Watch For Cognitive Distortions That Induce Negative Thoughts [4:15]
Four is watch for cognitive distortions. So things that can cause worry, particularly things that feel sort of unrelenting, ongoing, kind of some of the things we’re talking about, right? A virus, the potential for war the economy, political undulations- these things can tend to trigger distorted thinking patterns for some people. So one relevant cognitive distortion type is catastrophizing where you imagine the worst possible outcome and then you start to feel as if it’s already happening. So this essentially creates suffering for yourself over something that isn’t happening. It may not happen. So one way to counter that is to consider what are the other possible outcomes? You know, what are the chances that maybe this can happen or that can that can happen? Or in other words, do you have the data to support this situation from going in this terrible catastrophic way? And maybe as you practice self-talk, you will learn to be more effective at challenging unhelpful thinking patterns to steer you away from more of an anxious and sort of panic-driven mindset.
There are other cognitive distortions but a few of them are assumptions, I’m sure you’ve heard of that one- when you just assume, believe that things will happen that people make assumptions, that can be a distorted way of thinking. Overgeneralizing, personalizing is a big one. Making things about you that are not about you and having an emotional response that may be not appropriate and not helpful. Shoulds are another one- I should be doing that, you should be doing this. People use should a lot to beat up on themselves. And also discounting the positive. There are some others, but those are some of the major ones that come up a lot for people.
Find Self-Care Activities That Help To Relax You [6:06]
So separate from that, I just want to add as I wrap this up, as always, it’s so important to take care of yourself. Self-care is really at the foundation of getting you through any difficult situation. And what can you be doing to prioritize yourself, whether it’s a hobby or practice, or way that makes you feel relaxed or something that bring you a little joy. Ultimately, what makes you happy?
Make sure that you’re doing some of those things, whatever they are for you- they’re very personal, right? Make sure you’re doing those things to stay as grounded as possible.
So for the next episode, I’m going to surprise you and me because I don’t have a topic yet. And speaking of that, I wanted to let you know that if you think of a topic that you’d like me to address here at Therapy 365, please let me know. And you can do that by going to the contact page on love and life toolbox.com and reach out. I’d love to start to incorporate some of your ideas into this podcast so I can be as helpful as possible. And I think the chances are pretty high that what’s going on for you is going on for a lot of others. So feel free to reach out. And as always, check out Love and life toolbox.com for emotional health and relationship content. I also wanted to mention that if you want to receive my weekly newsletter, there’s a nifty but not too obtrusive popup that will make that pretty easy. It only comes up once rather than haunt you throughout your perusing of my site. So don’t worry about that. If you’re interested, please sign up for that and take care of yourself. And remember, at Therapy 365, you’re always a work in progress.