Coping with Anxiety in a Coronavirus World

A Secular Version of the Serenity Prayer:

May I cultivate—

The serenity to accept what I cannot change,

The courage to change what I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

In these times of great financial, medical, and social change, stress and anxiety are running rampant. At least I know mine is–at least some time. As someone who has had to deal a lifetime with high anxiety, I have spent a lot of time learning ways to mitigate it and would like to share some, hopefully, helpful suggestions with you, starting with the secular version of the Serenity Prayer above.

Start a COVID-19 journal and record your daily thoughts, feelings, and doings. Focus on the things you can change, control, or at least influence. Make a list of these in your journal. You don’t need to go into a list of things you can’t change or do anything about. Focus on what you can change. By putting your energy and efforts into things you can change and control, your will find yourself less overwhelmed by those things you can’t.

Social distancing adds a whole new level of stress. That is a euphemism. I refer to it as social isolation. I am by nature in my old age pretty much a hermit anyway. My introversion works in my favor here. I prefer to spend large blocks of time in solitude. However, with the Coronavirus social isolation, it sometimes is over the top for even me. So I check in via phone, FaceTime, emails, texting, etc. with friends and family. Unfortunately, humans in particular, and mammals in general, need touch. Occasionally, I have to walk down the street and get a hug from my daughter, granddaughters, and great grandson. My ex drops by about once a week for a visit. These help keep me in equilibrium. So, maintaining social contact is important for your mental health.


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