Coping with Unease and Uncertainty by Jenny Lehman, LCSW
Jenny Lehman is our Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Anxiety Specialists. In her recent video series, she discusses calming techniques to incorporate into your daily life to soothe anxiety and panic.
The world’s climate right now is uncertain and uneasy. These feelings can in turn create anxious feelings. We can all acknowledge that this is a real experience for those living in the United States. What do we do with that information? Our first step is an acknowledgment that our world’s climate is uncertain, and we are feeling anxious because of it. It is also important to remember that everything in life is uncertain. In the past, we have been able to distract ourselves from that thought. In our current climate, we are no longer able to do that. When we have a fear about the future, it gives us an opportunity to focus on this present moment. We do that by focusing on our senses: breathing, being in nature and noticing what is happening. When we are truly in the present moment, we notice that we are okay.
One effective method when conducted regularly is engaging in belly breathing. Belly breathing is a deep breath that expands your diaphragm. This breathing has an impact on your vagus nerve. Activating this nerve is essentially like pressing a calming button on our nervous system. The belly breath is powerful if used consistently. To conduct a belly breath, put your hand on your chest and your stomach. When you inhale, do not move your shoulders. Bring your breath in through your nose. When you inhale, your hand is going to move a little bit. Take about 30 or 40 seconds periodically throughout the day to conduct this belly breath. You should start to see a difference in your nervous system’s response. It only gets better the more you conduct belly breathing. We never make great decisions when we are coming from a place of fear. Pay attention to staying balanced so that you can make logical decisions.