It is normal to experience overwhelming emotions during this time. It is also important to develop some skills to manage those emotions.
The last three weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster. Pause….the reality is that the last 3 months have been an emotional rollercoaster. Many of us are still grieving the tragic and sudden deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianni Bryant and those that lost their lives during the helicopter crash just a few months ago. AND within the last three weeks, we are collectively managing great uncertainty. It is natural for that uncertainty to bring with it great anxiety and a sense of loss. Whether it be loss of income, physical contact with those we love, or loss of our sense of control; we are experiencing it and we are experiencing it deeply. The grief that comes with those losses has many emotions attached to it. Those emotions can include anxiety, anger, sadness, disappointment, and fear. These feelings, we cannot and should not avoid. But we should be very intentional about how we are recognizing and managing them. The best way to get through the overwhelming emotions that come with grief, loss, and uncertainty is to do our best to acknowledge what comes up for us and do our best to identify practices that will ground us.
Grounding is a skill you can practice in managing overwhelming feelings or intense anxiety. It helps you to regain your mental focus from an often intensely emotional state that is more likely to occur given all the change happening around us. We are all facing a multitude of scary potential new realities; all of which I am sure provokes anxiety and intense emotions. I think it is important to acknowledge the intensity of those emotions and expect that those moments will come. It is human nature to be afraid during a time with so much uncertainty and it is human nature to experience intense emotions. It is important to “pick it up and put it down.” Allow whatever scary truth to roll through your consciousness without declaring that possibility as the new reality. If and when things become overwhelming, “put it down” by grounding yourself back in the present.
One example of grounding is guided meditation. One of my favorite guided meditations is Remembering Your Stillness via the Live Awake Podcast.
A second example is the 5 method. Very easy. You simply name 5 things you can see in the room with you. Name 4 things you can feel (“chair on my back” or “feet on the floor”). Name 3 things you can hear (“fingers tapping on keyboard” or “tv”). Name 2 things you can smell (or, 2 things you like the smell of). Then name 1 good thing about yourself.
Finally, a third example of grounding is by mediating on a favorite scripture, quote, or affirmation. A scripture that has been very helpful for me during this trying time is Psalms 4 “….Give me relief in my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.’ One of my favorite affirmations is “I will come out of this a better version of me.”
However you choose to ground yourself while holding space for the anxiety that comes with uncertainty, make sure you do it!