Stop the Chatter in Your Head

Well, this has been a pretty shitty year, hasn’t it?

I’m hard-pressed to find a silver lining, but I do feel moved when my clients say things like “having worked on my anxiety helped me face this situation so much better than my friends and family” or “for once, I am the one coping, and everyone else is struggling.” One thing that’s for certain is that everyone has been forced to work on getting better at responding to anxiety and A LOT of uncertainty …whether we like it or not.

Social media can be a blessing and a curse. The blessing? Finding a helpful Facebook Group or posts from qualified professionals (ahem). The curse … so. many. opinions.

Combining coronavirus and social media is enough to make heads explode!

Here are two of the more common conundrums I’ve been hearing:

I see people on social media obviously not social distancing. How do I deal with feeling concerned and yet jealous, because I, too, miss socializing?

The first thing that comes to mind is take a break from FB

I remember a great yoga class I went to in Tucson, AZ, where the teacher reminded us to keep our eyes on our own mat.

How to stay on your own mat:

  1. Notice what you’re feeling WITHOUT judgement or analysis.
    What you DON’T want to do is engage with the content.Replace the chatter of “Why are they taking these risks? Don’t they know it’s risky? Should I tell them? Why am I so uptight about what they’re doing?” with, “I’m aware that I’m feeling both concern and jealousy in this moment.”
  2. Align your behaviors with what’s important.
    Find a framework for decision-making, mitigate your risks, and stick to it. Accept that other people will make their own choices — some good, some bad — and control your controllables.
  3. Respond to the situation and NOT to your thoughts and feelings about the situation.
    What happens all too often on social media is that people react to their thoughts and feelings. It’s unproductive and often a giant cluster of raging emotion. Not helpful.

I struggle with people not taking COVID-19 seriously. How do I stop the judgment chatter in my head?

When we feel a spike of emotion, it’s generally a signal about something.

In this care, let’s reframe “feeling judgmental” with your why. A couple examples:
“I really care about my civic responsibility to keep everyone as safe as possible.”
“I want to do my part to flatten the curve.”

When you see someone else not taking it seriously, it touches on your why.

Since we can’t control our feelings, if you try to “stop feeling judgmental,” you’ll probably feel worse. The more you try to push something away, the stronger it’s going to get. The more you “try to stop the judgement,” chances are it’s going to come back stronger. And who needs that? That doesn’t help you move forward.

Instead, approach the feelings with some curiosity, and see what happens.

Here’s the reality: you can’t control what someone else does or think. All you can control is your behavior. Control the response. So … you may choose not to hang around them or engage with them right now. Maybe unfollow their profile for a while, so you don’t see their posts. Maybe log off social media for a bit (I’m feeling like a broken record).

It’s about taking care of yourself, so you can more appropriately handle the situations you’re facing.

Asking for help is also a way to take care of yourself! Give me a call if I can help.