Conquering Fear and Anxiety

Reviewed Apr 24, 2020


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Hello, everyone. I'm Carol Phillips, representing Beacon Health Options. Welcome to this webinar on conquering fear and anxiety. And we are all definitely in a position, unfortunately, right now, where we're dealing with a stressful situation with the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone's being affected by this situation and we're all navigating through these very unchartered waters. These types of situations can create a significant amount of fear and anxiety and we need to find ways to cope with these emotions and prioritize our health and wellness now, definitely, more than ever.

So, remember we're all very emotional beings to begin with and we have our emotions for a reason. They help us organize our thoughts and decide what's best for us, they keep us safe. They also help to connect us with our subconscious mind and we need to learn to use our emotions for good and not let them get the best of us and take us in a direction of chronic stress, which over time, definitely can rob us of our health. And if we weren't dealing with this coronavirus situation and we were doing just a regular topic on overcoming our fears and anxieties, we could all relate to different things that make us fearful or anxious. But now it's all taken to a whole new level and our emotions are definitely magnified and we need to figure out how we can navigate these waters and move in a positive direction so that our stress does not get out of control.

So as we go through the presentation today, I want to invite you to make it interactive, click on the chat bubble. And remember, there's a dropdown menu and it says two and you want to click on all panelist, okay? So all panelist. Okay? So do not click on the Q&A feature, we're not using the Q&A feature today. Okay, so once again, click on the chat bubble, feel free to chime in. Okay, so let's look at these two statements and really think about them. Acknowledging negative thoughts can take away their power. Okay? Sometimes our negative thoughts can really control us in a very negative way. And then how you perceive a situation affects your reaction more than the situation itself. So we've all had these times where we're with somebody else and all of a sudden, there's something that makes us very fearful and the other person we're with, it doesn't seem to bother them at all. So, a lot of this is about perception. And not that perception isn't important, it is very important, it's just knowing that we are all different.

So, what are some of your reactions to these statements? What are the first things that you think of? What are the first things that come to mind for you personally about acknowledging negative thoughts that can take away their power? What are some of the things that you use? Okay, so feel free to chime in. Click on the chat bubble and then remember that right underneath is where you can enter your chat message. Do not click on the Q&A. And I know on some people's computers or whatever device you're using, it can be hard to see because it's really light gray. But it's just above Q&A, so don't click on Q&A. So, some people are saying things that you've learned that you can't control. Some people are saying that they are using different things like humor, positive thinking. Taking time to think about how I can get out of this negative situation. Stopping to count my blessings. Great. Thank you. Definitely humor. Absolutely. We need to find humor in every single day, despite what is going on around us. Meditation, prayer, yoga, checking in with family and friends. Yes. Staying informed. Absolutely.

Now there's an area where you really want to find a good balance between watching the news all day long versus staying informed so that you can best advocate for yourself and your loved ones. Very good. Thank you so much. So, think of the times where you've been successful at handling your fears or your anxieties. What are the times when you've allowed negative thoughts to stay below the radar and try to pretend that they weren't there, right? Because sometimes when we just try to pretend nothing's going on, our subconscious might notice that something is going on. So, there's a disconnect there and there's a conflict there, so we're not always going to be successful at just turning away from what's going on. Okay? The other thing is remember we're social beings, so there's people around us that are affecting how we're handling situations. Okay? And so one thing to do is to notice who are the people in your closest circles, and do they help you or hinder your efforts to deal with fear and anxiety?

So for example, a positive person who truly cares about you will be there and will understand when there's things that make you fearful or anxious as opposed to be on the look out for people who ... They kind of poo-poo your fears or they make you feel like there's something wrong with you for feeling that way. And so we're all on this emotional rollercoaster together and I think now, more than ever, we really need to reach out and help each other and be understanding that not everybody is going to be on the same page as us. So, what are some of the things that people in your circle are doing that are making you feel better through this situation? So, go ahead and click on the chat bubble and chime in, join in on the conversation. Okay, what are other people doing that are helping you? So remember to click above the Q&A, not on the Q&A.

Somebody wrote eating dinner together. I think our society as a whole has been overdue in having meals together. There's just something primal about breaking bread together and communicating with each other that makes us feel like we belong, that people care about us, that we're not alone. Keeping in touch, even briefly, by phone. Playing games with people. People saying people reaching out to them through FaceTime. Absolutely. Yeah. Put on music, just having a little impromptu dance party will get your mind off of everything that's going on. Thank you for sharing those. Going for a walk. That's great, right? But we're going to keep our distance from people when we go for that walk, but absolutely, get outside, enjoy that fresh air. Or people that you're self-isolating with, get out there and walk together.

Okay. So acknowledge that your fears and anxieties are real and they're made up of thoughts that are based on either personal experiences or our beliefs. Our beliefs drive a lot of our thoughts and what our fears and anxieties are. So we're trying to pretend that these thoughts and fears don't exist or not that bad can actually sometimes make them worse. And once we talk through our thoughts, we're able to understand that the fears and anxieties, they are just thoughts that we can control. So then looking at what can we control in a situation and what we can't, it leaves us feeling like we're empowered, we're coming up with a plan. It doesn't mean we can control the whole situation, but we're confronting our own anxieties and fears and not let them be compounded with everything that's going on. Okay? So that we can rewire our brains to say I can handle these negative thoughts and I can think them through, and that automatically right there is going to make you feel better.

Somebody said, "What about people who live alone?" Okay, so people who live alone can do a variety of things. You want to reach out to other people, call them or FaceTime them, or focus on the activities that you really enjoy doing most that you can do at home right now. Or maybe there's something new that you want to try. What have you been thinking about for a while? Maybe you want to learn another language and you can download an app and learn a new language while you have all of this extra time. Also, reach out to other people and talk about what's on your mind. We live in a society where a lot of times, when we reach out to other people, we pretend everything's fine because we want to be a positive, happy person. But this is one of those times where I think we really need to let our guard down and talk to other people and reach out and discuss what is going on with us so that we can all help each other. And then if you know somebody who's alone, definitely reach out to them so that they don't feel alone and lonely. Okay, thank you for sharing those.

So I just wanted to share one of the things that I've dealt with over the years is I have a fear of flying. And when I was trying to think back where it came from, I realized that I never really thought about flying because other people, quote, unquote, flew all the time. I didn't have my first plane ride until I was 13 years old with my family. My brother was stationed in Florida and he was getting married and we were all hopping on a plane to go to Florida for the wedding. And it was really weird because in my 13 year old mind, when we were taking off, when the plane had been cleared for takeoff and was going down the runway, it was very odd to me that this plane was going so fast because I was only used to being in a car. And so it just, in my brain, it just seemed wrong.

And then when we got up off the ground and I couldn't see out the front window, and we were so far off the ground, it just made me really, really scared. And ever since then, I've been afraid of flying. And so over the years, I've had to work really hard to try to change my own thinking so that every time I'm flying, I'm not so fearful. So, it has been quite the project in my own mind to try to change this. And we can change, we can change our fears. Our brain is very powerful, our thoughts are very powerful.

Okay, so let's look at some childhood fears. So childhood fears, they're common and normal and they're actually good because they keep children safe. So, the whole question of are we born with our fears and anxieties or do we develop them? Nature versus nurture. I believe it's both, from our experiences. So if you look at so many things that children, they're automatically afraid of that end up keeping them safe. Okay? So for example, children start acting scared of strangers. That can be a good thing and prevent kids from going off with people that they shouldn't be going off with. And then why do you think very young children start to show separation anxiety around the ages of, say, nine months to two years? Why do you think that is? So, I'm going to have you guys go ahead and click on the chat. Make sure you're not clicking on the Q&A, you're above the Q&A, and go ahead and share. Why do you think young children, so many of them, are suddenly fearful during those ages?

Okay, so somebody's saying more awareness of their needs. Losing what's familiar around them. Knowing that the parents are going off to work. Right. They're not experienced. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. Right? So, while we're on the topic of fear of unknown, one of the things that I share with people is if you find yourself afraid of the unknown, remind yourself that there's always changes going on in our lives and whenever things change, they're not always black and white. And so when we're just fearful of the unknown, we're denying the fact that there's probably going to be some really great things that come out of changes. And the fact that we don't live in a black and white society as far as how we should be thinking about things, there's a lot of gray area. And so reminding ourselves that a lot of things that are going to happen end up being neutral, but there's going to be positive things that happen too, regarding any situation. Okay?

So back to the young children. Fear of being alone. Fear that they won't come back. So yes, it's very complex, but it really is, when you think about it, because they're learning, they're growing, but their brains are still very, very young. And they don't know that when you're leaving, that you're coming back. They don't really have an idea of time, how long it's going to take. Also, when you think about it, parents are their connections for everything they need. For food, for something to drink, to change them, to bathe them, to put them to bed. And now all of a sudden, their lifeline is disappearing out the door. And we know part of that is built in because most children just automatically do that. Yes. And we are meant to be social beings, so there is that huge connection. Okay?

And somebody wrote, "The world around them is changing." Absolutely. They deal with so many changes that absolutely do not make sense to them. Okay. So, thank you. Thank you for chiming in on those. So, all different things that children can be afraid of, sometimes it helps them to stay safe, other times, it's negative experience that have left them with a fear. Might be rational, might be irrational.

Okay, so let's look at some adult fears. Okay? So right now, we're all dealing with this coronavirus pandemic and so it's almost like the apple cart is just totally, totally disrupted because what other situations where, globally, at the same time, we're all dealing with this unexpected situation that has so many negative components to it, where everybody's having to suddenly adjust their lives? Okay? And so our sense of security has been disrupted, our brain is saying alert, alert, alert, and we know that we need to problem solve. So with all these changes that are going on, there's a lot of problem solving going on. And it's a lot for our brains to deal with, so we're ending up being mentally and physically exhausted. And so what has it triggered in you? So say from the time you first started learning about this until now, what are some of the things that have made you fearful or anxious about this particular situation? So, go ahead and click on the chat bubble and chime in.

Okay. So, some people are saying they kind of feel stuck at home in a tight space. Okay. They're worried about their career choice. Dealing with children who are nervous about what's going on. Not knowing how long this will last. That is so important. Our brain wants to wrap around what's going on, how we solve the problems, what's going to happen, when will it end, and there's so many unknowns right now. People fearful of getting sick. Yes. Fearful of other family members getting it. Whether we have enough resources. Right. So many unknowns. Yeah. People are worried about the shortages. People worried about their elderly loved ones. People worried about their financial situation. Yeah, absolutely. The global and economic impact. Very good.

People mentioning people who live far away and being worried about them. Yeah. People whose current plans have been put on hold. Okay. All different plans that people had made, short-term, long-term, small things they had planned or large things, right? Everything's just come to an abrupt halt and a lot of things, we're forced to deal with right now. Yeah. Our emotional wellbeing. Right. Less human interaction. Yeah, when we do, we need to take care of ourselves mentally and physically through all of this. So, thank you. Thank you for sharing those. Those are terrific.

Okay, so let's switch over to ... I'm going to throw a question out. When they do studies on what people fear the most, do any of you ... Have any of you heard of this or want to take a guess? When people are asked, what do they fear the most in life, what is usually the number one thing that people say? Okay. Somebody guessed it. Very good. So, people tend to put things like losing your job, dying, becoming very sick, but it's actually public speaking. Most of the time, people say that public speaking scares them the most out of everything. It's very interesting. A totally different topic, right? Yeah. So most people say their number one fear is public speaking. Okay, so we're just going to think outside of this current situation. Before this situation happened, if somebody said to you, what's your number one fear in life?

Okay, some people say losing my job, losing my family. The health of my children. Yeah. Chronic disease. Feeling rejected. Not feeling accepted. Right, we all want to feel accepted. Yeah, losing a parent. The loss of a child. Fear of retirement. So, we're all dealing with all types of different fears. Feeling useless. And that one just resonated with me, somebody wrote feeling useless. We all want to feel like we have a purpose in life and that's one of the reasons why elderly people have a hard time when they either retire or they go into a nursing home because they don't feel like they're useful anymore and they need to feel like they have a purpose. So, that's one of the reasons why during this situation, we want to still find ways to reach out to other people who are lonely or feeling like they don't have a purpose in life right now. So, thank you for sharing those. Those are terrific.

Have you ever stopped to think where my fears come from? So what are your fears and where do they come from? So, think of something that maybe you're afraid of and do you know where it came from? So for those of you who remember something that you're afraid of and where it came from, feel free to share that right now. Because that's one of the first steps in overcoming our fears or if we can't overcome them completely, we can deal with them in a much better way. Okay? So people are saying trauma at a young age. So, recognizing you have this fear and you know it came from this time when I was young when this happened to me. Yeah. Or a scary movie, right? Something you weren't afraid of until you saw a scary movie and now, ever since then, that item scares you. Right? The thing about the clown. Just as I was saying it, somebody put that in there. Right. Clowns. Yeah, so somebody else is saying fear of sharks from watching Jaws at a young age. Okay.

Losing a parent at a young age. Right. Somebody loses a parent at a young age and then they're going through all these unexpected feelings of grief and sadness, et cetera, and then it can make them very fearful of losing the other parent or other people in their lives because they know how hard that is. Yeah. Somebody wrote being shy as a child. I can relate to that, I was painfully shy as a child and I think back on all the situations that were so difficult for me because of that, and it took a lot of work to overcome that. Very good. Thank you. Somebody said fear of driving on highway. Okay, so if you can really look at where did my fears come from and how can I deal with them? Okay. Somebody wrote fearful because of being judged for your weight. Okay. None of us want to feel like we're being judged in a negative way and some of our anxieties and fears can definitely stem from some of those types of feelings too. Somebody wrote fearful of large bodies of water. So if you have a negative experience, it can leave you fearful.

So keep in mind, not all of these emotions are negative because they're tied to our survival. Some of them are tied to keeping us safe, so that we don't end up in the negative situation again. Thank you, those are great. And then somebody wrote whether they're genetic or whether sometimes people have some mental health issues that create fear and anxiety. I was used to what my mother ... My mother's normal fears and anxieties were when she was an adult, but then later on, she developed Alzheimer's and she became very anxious and very fearful of many more things. So, sometimes when our brain is changing or we're dealing with mental health issues, that can create some problems with extra fear and anxiety too.

Okay, so on this list of adult fears is spiders. That's one of my big ones, spiders. There's just something about eight legs moving fast and it's definite ... I don't know exactly where it came from. I know from the time I was very young, but that's one that I notice is very ingrained with me. So, notice some of your anxieties or fears, are they just so ingrained that the second you see it, it's just ... Your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure goes up, your brain's going in that fight or flight mode, or is it much calmer than that? Are you less fearful? Maybe just a little bit anxious about something? Okay. And it's the ones that really trigger us to go into super fight or flight, stressed out mode that can be the most damaging if we're not figuring out a way to talk ourselves, quote, unquote, off the ledge when it comes to that.

So although we've made great progress in destigmatizing the thought of having fear and anxiety, it's only with self-reflecting and talking to other people and reaching out for help that we can really move forward in some of these situations. And this is another area where your employee assistance program has a lot of resources and services available for you. So, what are some of the things that you're afraid of in general or in life? What do you remember from when you were young? Sometimes if you just take some time to think about your fears and remember okay, where did that come from? Was there something that happened in my past? Okay? And sometimes when we just take time to think through something and process it, it can really help reduce the fear and anxiety that it causes.

For example, if you had a child who went through a traumatic experience and now they're afraid of something and as a parent, you sit down and you talk to them about how that's creating a lot of stress and a lot of fear for them, but you're reminding them that that's probably never going to happen again. They can live their life, they can enjoy their life, they don't have to be so fearful because it's very, very unlikely to happen again. And you're trying to teach them to feel better. Well, we can do that with ourselves. We need to be doing that with our own thoughts. Sometimes we don't even take enough time to really take care of ourselves and this is a situation where we absolutely need to do that.

Okay, so here's another quiz question for you. What are the most common fears people have? So, go ahead and chime in, click the chat bubble. Remember, don't click on Q&A, click above that and chime in. What are the most common fears that people have? Okay, so while you're doing that, feel free to go ahead, keep adding those. What are the most common fears people have? There's a great article called Are We Born to be Afraid? It's by Robert L. Leahy, PhD. He's the author of The Jealousy Cure, Worry Free, The Anxiety Cure and Beat the Blues. Okay? So he's got several books out. The last name is L-E-A-H-Y. Robert Leahy. And you can look up this great article on Are We Born Afraid? So it talks about that whole nature versus nurture when it comes to our fears. So, check that out if you have time.

So people are writing fear of mice. Fear of failure. Fear of falling. Death of my pets. Not being able to do physical activity. Bees. Spiders. Being introverted. Animals with lots of legs. Yes, I hear you on that one. Okay, so the top things that are most common are snakes, bugs, mice, bats, heights, and water. Okay? So what do these things have in common? They're all potentially dangerous. Okay? Just a funny quick story. I had a friend who lived in an old farmhouse and two different times when she was young, a bat came down and flew and got stuck in her hair. So, she is beyond fearful of bats because she had that terrible, terrible memory from when she was young.

Okay, so let's look at causes of anxiety. So worry can turn into anxiety, and then anxiety can turn into fear. Okay? So we have the belief that danger is lurking. And remember that some of these do help us to survive. Okay? They kind of alert us. You ever walked through a dark parking lot and then all of a sudden, you're like okay, what was that noise? Is there somebody over there? Okay? So, that part of our brain that's taking care of us, even though it's not fun that we're dealing with fear and anxiety at times, it's there to protect us. So remember, that's the positive side to it and we want to recognize when it does get to be too much for us or we're not handling it well.

So if you spend some time understanding the power of your thoughts, you can control most of the direction of your life. So your thoughts are really, really powerful. And then also recognizing are you a positive thinker or are you a negative thinker? Okay? So one thing we want to do is identify the negative thoughts that we're having. So years ago, when I heard about positive versus negative thinking, I thought, this is really fascinating, I think I want to spend some time paying attention to the thoughts that are going on in my head. Because remember, the person you communicate the most with in your life is you. You talk to yourself in your head all day long and when you can really connect with what that dialogue sounds like, that's extremely powerful. So, what I decided to do years ago was I'm going to spend some time listening to me, what's going on in my own head. And at the time, I thought I was a pretty positive thinker and I started listening and I realized I was not being so nice to myself and I was letting some of my fears and anxieties just spin out of control.

And so I thought, you know what, I'm going to be on a mission to change this because I know I can change my thinking. We're not just born one way with no ability to change. And so I decided I would play a little game with myself, that whenever I caught myself giving myself negative thoughts, I was going to tell myself stop, you need to stop and you need to change that to something positive. And I did that over and over and over. And there were times when it wasn't easy at all, I just kept going back to the worry or the negative thought. But over time, it was amazing, the changes, because I could hear myself, I was paying attention to what I was saying to myself. And sometimes we can be our own worst enemy and sometimes we'll say things to ourselves that are not so nice that we wouldn't say to anybody else that we care about. Okay?

So, identifying the negative thoughts. So what were you thinking when you started to feel anxious? Okay? Start to notice what are the patterns, what are the things that set off those feelings? Okay? And then stop and say wait a minute, are these valid or is my worrying way out of control compared to what the situation is? What's the realistic chance that something's going to happen? Okay? What are your past experiences with dealing with those negative situations? What did you do before? What's helpful? And then trying new things to notice what works for you, that helps you move in a more positive way. Okay? What worked for you? What didn't? Okay. So, go ahead and chime in. Share what are some of the things that you do to change your thinking from negative and worrying and fearful to positive, so that you're bringing your blood pressure down, you're bringing your heart rate down, you're calming yourself? And when you do that, you're telling your brain and your body that you're trying to take care of yourself.

So, what are some of the things that you do? So people are saying deep breaths. Distract with videos or books. Reading is terrific. I like to watch a comedy when I'm stressed because I know it's going to get my mind off what I'm thinking about and it's going to help me laugh. Talking to somebody. Breathing exercises. Going for a walk. Working on a hobby. Stretching. Yoga. Listening to the radio. Terrific. Petting a dog. Going for a walk. Self-talk. Right. And just talk to yourself how you would help a child that you loved very much deal with a situation. You can say those same things to yourself. Okay? Somebody wrote, "Remembering that no spider is bigger than my size 12 shoe." I love that. I need to remember that next time there's a spider that's freaking me out. Very good, thank you. So somebody wrote, "Remembering my goals. Positive affirmations. Taking a break." Terrific, those are great. Okay. And then sharing with other people what works for you.

You guys are funny. I love some of these. More humorous comments, I love them. It's great. And you know what, just making somebody laugh, right? In the moment, making somebody laugh. So it reminds me of the common happening that sometimes when you're at a funeral and there's somebody who says something and it makes people laugh and then they just can't stop laughing, and then they're laughing uncontrollably and everybody's feeling so inappropriate because of the setting that they're in. But that's our brains trying to deal with a very, very stressful situation. Our brain's trying to balance those scales. We can only take so much stress. So, thank you, those are great. Okay. Yeah, there's nothing better than a great belly laugh that's uncontrollable. Or spending time with people whose laughs are just so incredibly contagious.

So, I want encourage you to analyze your thoughts regularly. Our own messages to ourselves can be really helpful in changing our behaviors, but first, we have to look at those thoughts and analyze them. Okay? So if we don't see the problem in our own heads, it's going to be hard for us to make any positive steps forward. And we want to acknowledge our fear, but also change our thoughts about it. So, practice, practice, practice, get used to it and then before you know it, you're going to get better and better at it. I did a presentation a few weeks ago and one of the attendees came up to me afterwards and said to me, "Are you telling me that I can change the way I am? I wasn't born the way I am with no chance of changing?" And I said, "Absolutely, we can. Practice makes perfect and we should be doing some self-reflection." Somebody wrote, "Realizing this too shall pass", so absolutely. Great.

So how much does acceptance play a role in dealing with fear and anxiety? So one of the analogies that I like to share is picture you're going to go out for a day sailing. Somebody invited you on their beautiful sailboat. The weather is absolutely gorgeous, the sun's reflecting off the water, it's a beautiful day. You go out on the sailboat. Well, when you're out on a sailboat, you expect the boat to go up and down with the waves, right? All day long, the boat's going to go up and down. Well, that's the same way life is. There's positive things that happen in life and negative things. If we expect things to be perfect all the time, then when they're not, we tend to get overly stressed and disappointed. So, think of life as being out on that sailboat, okay? When things are going great, enjoy them and when they're not, we've developed all of these coping skills to deal with them and then understanding that, like one of the participants said, this too shall pass. We will get beyond this at some point. So, very good. Thanks for sharing all of those thoughts.

Yeah. And then somebody wrote down journaling. Okay. Keep a journal. The thing that's great about journaling is over time, you can see patterns. Okay? Maybe you notice, as you're journaling, okay, it's always in the evening when I'm the most stressed, so how can I change that? I know with me, I'm that way. I'm a morning person, so in the evening, if something's bothering me, I remind myself that I need to go find a distraction and then in the morning, it's not going to be bothering me as much. And then I think it through, what do I need to think through right now? And then get to a better place. Okay?

Also, how can you live in the moment? We tend to not live in the moment and that creates an enormous amount of stress for us. So a lot of times, people live trying to do everything they need to do right now, but then they're also, every now and then, having thoughts of things that they wish they had done differently, so they're also playing the woulda, coulda, shoulda game in their head. And it's usually negative things, it's not they're thinking about something in the past and thinking oh, I did a great job with that. Usually, if we're stuck in the past, it's a regret or something we wish we had done differently, but we can't change that. Okay? So we need to figure out how we're going to deal with that. Quote, unquote, put it to bed. Okay? And then move on.

But then we also tend to be in the future too much, we tend to worry about everything we need to do for the next day, the next week, the next month. And this situation now is creating a lot of fear of the unknown and we really have to rein that in, try to figure out how can I just focus on right now? I've planned the best that I can, and so how can I enjoy this moment? Okay? Somebody wrote, "I am a good person and I will figure this out." I love that. Even if you want to write down a phrase that helps you and put it on your refrigerator or sit down with your kids and make a huge poster. Okay? Somebody wrote, "It's never as big or bad as I see it in my head." Absolutely. That can be so true. Absolutely.

Okay, a few other reminders. One of the worst things we can do is to tell people to calm down. Okay? Or don't worry about it. That rarely helps anybody. Usually, if somebody's sharing, remember, they're reaching out for help, they're looking for something comforting, so how can you help them? Even if it's in that moment, because you can't change the situation, so what can you do? Okay? And then all the other healthy behaviors that we know. Okay? So, exercising, making sure we're eating healthy because right now, more than ever, we want to make sure our minds and our bodies are as healthy as possible. So if right now, we're really totally stressed out and we're just going for the comfort food and we're not exercising, that's not going to help our body to be as strong as it possibly can be. And for most people, this virus isn't going to affect them much, if at all.

So, what are some of the things that you do? So, go ahead and chime in right now, share some of the things that you do in all different areas of health and wellness to stay healthy. Okay. Going for a walk. Okay. Choosing healthier foods. Okay. Lots of fruits and veggies. Yes, lots of water. We definitely need to stay hydrated. Our body can't work correctly if we're always walking through life dehydrated. Playing jokes. Talking to a friend. Consistent sleep. Absolutely, that's terrific. Make sure that you're getting enough sleep. And this might be creating a situation where if you're working at home, your hours can be more flexible, maybe this is the perfect opportunity to notice what is the best schedule for you? What are the best work hours for you as far as what works best for your brain so that you're at your optimal? Okay? So maybe the work hours you've been working for years and years and years, they're not your optimal. And now that you're working from home, you can see what works for you.

Running outside and weight-bearing exercises. Right. Right. I love this. Look it. This is physical distancing and not social distancing because we definitely need to stay creative and stay connected to other people. Limiting exposure to TV. Very good. Reading a book. That's a great way to get your brain off of any stress you're dealing with. Managing my perspective. Right, exactly. Stepping away from social media. Right. And you know what, don't hesitate to unfriend people and look for new friends that are more positive and supportive. Okay? That align more with your beliefs. Terrific. Thank you for sharing those. Assessing finances and staying grounded. I love that. Yeah, that's really important now. And just coming up with a plan for what we can control. Thank you, those are great.

Okay, so here's some suggestions. So if somebody asked you for advice and they were looking for great ways to reduce their fears and anxiety, what would you tell them? So in just a few words, if somebody was looking for you for comfort and advice and help during this situation, what would you tell them? So, go ahead and chime in. What would you say to your best friend if, all of a sudden, they were having a day where they were really fearful and anxious regarding everything that's going on? Somebody wrote, "Listen." I love that. Okay. Everybody wants to feel heard, so just waiting, let them say everything that they want to say.

Telling people to not listen to so much social media. Letting them know that you're scared too. Absolutely. I'm here for you, what do you need? I love that, it's a nice open question. Let them say in their own words. Okay? Sometimes when we're trying to get the best information from people, it's great to avoid yes, no questions. Reminding them to meditate, take a deep breath. Helping them see a different perspective. Okay? Asking them if they're taking good care of themselves. Asking them what they need help with. Great. Reminding them to not give themselves a hard time. Reminding them we'll get through this together. That's great. Terrific. Great suggestions, thank you.

Okay, so what I'd like to do right now is just do a quick little relaxation exercise just to stop everything that's going on and take a moment for yourself. Okay? Just come up for air because most of us don't do this enough. We should do this several times a day and have other times during the day where our brain can catch up and we can just unplug from everything. So right now, what I want you to do is just sit comfortably, close your eyes. Take a nice deep breath in. And then exhale out your mouth. And then just relax into your body and think about your breathing slowing down. Just getting calmer and calmer. And just think about your favorite place to be, the place that you just feel the calmest, the happiest, the most peaceful. Just picture that place.

Okay, now take a nice deep breath in. Exhale. Open your eyes. Okay, how did that feel? Okay, just getting into the moment, just escaping from everything just for a few seconds, okay? That really sends your brain and your body a great message, tells everything to just slow down. So give yourself that gift on a regular basis as you're dealing with fears and anxieties. Okay? It sends a great message to all the parts of your body and can really remind you that you need to take some time for yourself. Okay? And you can practice any type of breathing, meditation, whatever works for you. There's so many different ways you can do it, different times you can do it, so just notice what works for you. And the more people do that, the more they fall in love with it, and then they don't want to be without it. It's a great tool to use to reduce your fears, bring your anxiety level down.

Okay, so think of times during the day when you can do this on your own. Okay? And we only did that for 15 seconds. I was quiet for 15 seconds. So, imagine if you did it for a minute. We all have a minute to do that. How much it can make you feel better. Yeah. And somebody said, "It's hard to quiet the mind."
Yes, it absolutely is. So I will share with you, probably not getting the saying correct, but it just made me laugh the first time I heard it and that is if you don't have time to meditate for 10 minutes, then you need to meditate for 20. So in other words, there's a sign. If you really struggle with it, do it more. And over time, your body will realize the benefits. So it is hard to quiet that mind, but over time, your brain and body know what's good for you. And so let those benefits find you, just keep doing it every now and then, and then realize oh, yeah, that really is helping me. It really can be very, very powerful. Okay?

So another thing to remember is reaching out to other people, family members, friends, significant other. Asking questions to get information. So maybe sometimes if you stop and notice, oh, you know what, I'm really fearful right now and anxious because there's a lot of questions I have that I don't have answers to. And some of these questions, the answers are out there, so I do need to find the time to reach out to either your doctor or other people that are in your circle that can help answer some of your questions. Okay? And then practicing those healthy behaviors and noticing what gets your mind off of things that might be stressing you out the most, really focus on what your biggest stressors are. So if you sat down and made a list, the top three things that are stressing you out the most right now, then it makes sense that those are the things you're going to focus on. Okay, I got to really battle my number one fear right now and figure out how to deal with this, how to put it in perspective.

Okay, so what else can you do to relax and get your mind off all the stressors in life? So, get to a happy place, find joy. Don't feel guilty about making life stop right now for a little while and just reconnecting with your kids and having fun. We don't have to put everything on hold as far as us living and enjoying things and having fun with our kids. Also, we want them to get through this without them looking back on this when they're adults and saying oh, now I have all these fears because of that time in 2020 when I was whatever, five years old, 10 years old. And my parents were so scared of what was going on, et cetera. Okay? So we want to really model some good behaviors for them too. Practicing gratitude. We always have things we can be grateful for. Finding reasons to laugh. Okay?

So, what are some of the things that you're doing with your children to help them get through this? So, go ahead and chime in. In the few minutes that we have left, chime in. What are some of the things that you're doing to help your children get through this? Okay, so people are saying playing board games. Being present. Texting them. Staying positive. Planting a garden. Crafts. Playing tennis. Here's another idea, ask them what they want to do. Ask them to tell you about the best part of their day and the worst part of their day. Open up great conversations with them. Allow them to be honest. Give them coping tools. Somebody says, "Working on a car with my son." Cooking together. Exercise. Games. Teaching about life. We have so many opportunities right now to teach our kids life lessons and coping skills and also, each other.

I'll tell you one thing that's really good that's coming out of this situation, so many more people now are aware of the importance of hand-washing. There are so many who die every year because of infections and disease because of simple lack of hand-washing. And now you know so many people are more aware and so that is going to eliminate infections and disease in the future because people are going to be practicing better habits, absolutely. So here are some apps for anxiety that can be really helpful. And so you can take a quick picture of that with your phone if that's helpful to remember them. So there's all kinds of apps out there that can be super helpful in these situations. Okay? And remember, there's pros and cons of technology, so use the pros and limit the cons. Okay? And remember, our emotions can run amok and they're contagious too, so we want to keep our emotions from being something that's an unhealthy contagion.

Okay, so here's a few quotes that you can look at. Quotes can help us get through too. They can make a big difference in our lives. I know when I was growing up, my parents used a lot of popular sayings to teach us and keep us in line. It's kind of funny looking back on how sometimes they would just say a common saying and we knew what they meant in those very few words. Okay, so just a few reminders that your employee assistance program, it's an employer paid benefit that provides counseling, education and referrals to help you better manage a wide variety of needs, including stress during this situation. It can help with childcare, parenting, adult care, aging, financial legal matters, et cetera. So I always suggest you put their 800 number right in your phone, they're available 24/7 and they're confidential. So remember, that's a great resource for you, especially during these difficult times. And you can also check out their website for more information and resources.

So, if anybody has any questions, feel free to put them in the chat right now. Yeah, reach out to your employee assistance program. And you don't have to know exactly what they can do for you, just call them up and say this is what's going on in my life right now, how can you help me? Okay? Thank you all so much for contributing to this webinar, all of your great thoughts. I really appreciate it. So in closing, I want to thank you for participating on this very important topic and wish all of you the best in working through this situation and learning what works best for you in conquering fear and anxiety. Go out and make it a great day. Thank you, everyone.





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