Quarantine has affected everyone differently. In general, I have tried to focus on the good - namely time and more intentional connections with others. One of the downsides has been… time. I had a friend who was facing a medical procedure, and I was worried. The extra time provided ample space to worry about my friend as well as contemplation of what is happening in the world to multiply. Thankfully, my friend had a good report.
If I “practice” being worried, I will get really good at worrying. In the midst of worrying, I knew that I hade to incorporate things that are important for my well-being to get out of that cycle of constant worry. Here is what worked for me
Step 1: Acknowledge your emotions and the resulting thoughts
I was understandably worried about my friend. I was scared, sad, hopeful. Pinpointing these emotions helped me move through the worry. This is always the first step for me when I deal with something difficult. As Marc Brackett, the director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence says: If you can name it, you can tame it.
Step 2: Do what you can
I took part in small-group, silent prayer. It was a gathering of ten of my friend’s friends. It was a time to pray and focus on our friend and her medical team while being mindful of social distancing and face masks.
Step 3: Find outlets for your worry
These few days were not the time for me to stay on my computer or check Facebook or even read a self-help book. I spent time outdoors drinking my coffee, writing, gardening, listening/dancing to upbeat music, and connecting with my family.
The weekend before my friend’s procedure, I sat in a negative space. Yet, I know that these steps work for me because I have implemented them time and time again. My challenge is to implement them right away. Thankfully, I didn’t sit in the negative space for too long. And thankfully, she had the best possible outcome from her procedure.
What works for you when you are experiencing negative emotions?