Executive Vitality™: Anxiety and The Impact of Global Events

Executive Vitality™: Anxiety and The Impact of Global EventsJust when we thought maybe the pandemic was winding down, and soon we would be getting back to “normal” (whatever that is), Russia initiated another brutal and senseless war. This has caused many otherwise healthy people to have a surge of anxiety due to the extremely wide range of ramifications that are looming. If you are experiencing anxiety, please know that this is normal. Literally hundreds of articles are being written about the surge in anxiety people are experiencing due to the war in Ukraine and fear of what Putin could do next.

The exponential rise in anxiety could have many causes, from stimulated PTSD to the feeling of helplessness that comes with not knowing what is going to happen. Having to speak with your children about the images we are being bombarded with via the various media could be anxiety-producing for the most balanced parent.

A recent poll indicates that upwards of eighty percent of those surveyed admit that their mental health is being greatly affected by both the stress of rising prices and fear about Russia. Scroll down for links to this poll and another recent survey from the American Psychological Association about the downside to constantly watching/reading the news.

The key to not being overwhelmed by circumstances is to prepare ourselves. In good times, we develop well-being habits that can carry us through troubled times. If you do not already have a well-being toolkit, now is a good time to give some thought to creating one. Everyone needs a way to release anxiety. Your toolkit might already include meditation, exercise and/or better diet. What else can you purposely do to release anxiety and tension? If you have a headache, you (probably) grab an aspirin. What can you set up for yourself that you can “grab” when you are feeling anxious? That is what you want in your toolkit.

It would be helpful if you could form a group. And if you don’t have a group of supportive friends you can talk to about how to apply the toolkit and hold each other accountable for using it, there are many existing support groups you can join. Many people attribute their sanity to their participation in these groups.

Here are eight things known to help reduce anxiety – in addition to meditation, exercise, better diet, and creating or joining a support group:

  1. Make sure you have quality rest. Set your alarm and get into bed without your phone or your laptop.
  2. Keep a journal. Writing can really help when you are plagued with unwanted thoughts.
  3. Listen to music or audiobooks with headphones. This is an especially good way to take a break.
  4. Go outside if you can. Make it a point to go outside for at least 15 to 20 minutes a day, weather permitting—in casual clothes. Take a walk or go for a bike ride.
  5. Turn off the news. If you think you don’t have time to do the previous 4, turn off the news and do something to clear your head. Here are a few more ideas.
  6. Do something creative – painting, drawing, knitting, crocheting, embroidering, needlepoint, or crafting – build or refinish something — anything that adds color to your life brings happiness with it.
  7. Even if you live in a tiny apartment, you probably have a window and room for at least one plant. Don’t worry about not having a green thumb. Just make sure it will grow well in the light you have and don’t overwater.
  8. Go out and have some fun. It may seem counterintuitive to go out and enjoy yourself. Consider that you are out enjoying freedoms we take for granted.

What is in your well-being toolkit? What can you rely on for enjoyment and relief no matter what?

Further Reading:

Is Constantly Reading the News Bad For You? | Time

Americans are experiencing unprecedented stress levels, poll shows (nbcnews.com)

Online Support groups:

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