Precedented tips for staying calm during these unprecedented times.
We’ve been living in the throes of a worldwide pandemic for almost a year now. Most Americans have been staying at home and socially distancing for at least nine months. About 7% of the country is out of a job (twice the pre-pandemic average). Essential workers are potentially exposed to the virus every day.
Our individual and collective health, economic stability, social connections, and way of living have all been overthrown. So there’s never been a better time to talk about anxiety, amIright???
First, We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson is the best book I’ve read about anxiety — probably because it’s not written by a doctor or therapist but by a fellow fretter, as Sarah likes to call us anxiety-ridden folk.
I’m not knocking the books by medical professionals; it’s crucial to understand how anxiety manifests in the brain and body and how different methodologies can help us better manage our anxious tendencies. (The Body Keeps the Score is an absolute must-read if you have PTSD.) But it’s undeniably comforting to read advice from someone who actually has anxiety and can describe in finite detail what it feels like.
Here are some of the best takeaways from Sarah’s book, mingled with my own experiences trying them:
You’re not alone — and you’re not broken.
An estimated 19.1% of American adults have had an anxiety disorder in the past year, and 31.1% will have an anxiety disorder sometime in their lives. This includes everything from generalized anxiety disorder to social anxiety to PTSD.
In fact, anxiety is the seventh leading cause of disability worldwide. It’s more common than migraines.
While I’m sharing this statistic to highlight how prevalent anxiety is, I hesitate to use the word “disability.” The human condition is fraught with insecurity, guilt, and melancholy aplenty — there’s no reason to label ourselves as broken because we have anxiety.
My advice: change the narrative. Anxiety isn’t something to be fixed but rather attended to, just like your skincare routine or workout regimen. Stop trying to rid…