“Change the way you think, and you can reduce your anxiety, become much calmer, and much more effective at navigating through a very unpredictable situation.”
― Dr. Leo Flanagan, The Center for Resiliency
Once you’ve completed the first class on stress management , begin a daily routine that rewires your brain for stress management by starting the day off right. As Brie Williams reminded us in the first session, you have a lot more control over your stress than you might think—despite not being able to add more hours to your day! This checklist is a structured but simple process to help you enter the day with your anxiety under control. Be sure to practice every morning to reinforce the positive habits!
Before you rise, meditate for three minutes.
Touch each of your fingers to the thumb on the same hand.
Close your eyes or gaze softly at a point six or so feet away.
Take a minute to focus on what you are feeling physically.
Focus on where you feel your breathing most clearly: belly, chest or nostrils.
As you breathe in, think: “Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.”
As you breathe out, think: “Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.”
When your mind wanders, simply bring your attention back to your breathing.
Continue for three minutes.
Wait 20-30 minutes before you check emails, texts, social media and news sources.
Every time you switch tasks while ‘multitasking,’ your productivity for the day drops 3.5%. Immediately grabbing your phone when you first wake up drives your daily productivity down before your feet have even touched the floor.
Answer the Pragmatic Optimism Questions.
Question: Will this last forever?
Answer:No. Nothing about this situation will last forever—not the shortage of vital equipment, not the number of people becoming infected, not the anxiety or fear.
Question: Will this really impact everything that is important to me?
Answer: No. When this is over, the things that are really important to me will be there.
Question: Today, how can I use my experience and skills to focus my motivation and make this just a little bit better?
Eat breakfast and hydrate with plenty of water.
Double check that you have everything with you.
Make sure you have your phone, glasses, keys, whatever you’ll need for the day.
Before you enter your workplace after taking the bus or train, after parking your car, or even just moving to the kitchen table, meditate for three minutes.
You can use the same meditation from step 1.
Repeat the answers to the Pragmatic Optimism Questions to yourself during the day.
As you work with the checklist on a daily basis, be mindful of your stress levels. Are they noticeably decreasing? Are you better able to start your day in a positive frame of mind? Hopefully the answer will be yes.
When you’re ready for the next session in the series, you can find it here .
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