The organization where I work is full of psychologists. (For the record, I truly love my job and my colleagues.) Today, I participated in a professional gathering where one of my colleagues highlighted the differences between different types of worry—stress, fear and anxiety (find definitions below, if you're interested)—and then he threw grief into the mix. Psychologists say there's value in identifying our specific feelings and noticing how we're experiencing those emotions: maybe a feeling of anger is actually grief; perhaps irritability is veiled anxiety. I realized that throughout this difficult time (and maybe more this past week than previously), my emotions have been ping-ponging around to stress, fear, anxiety, grief and occasionally a sense of security or normalcy. No wonder I'm exhausted by day's end. (Let's not even talk about poor sleep quality.)
Despite—or maybe because of—it having been a particularly difficult week for me emotionally, I've been noticing what's been helpful to bring me out of that emotional ping pong game, and I've been keeping a list on my phone: going for a walk, using my therapy light, enjoying bits of Jimmy Fallon's #FallonAtHome (specifically this), practicing gratitude. This week I also found myself inspired to create a Coronavirus playlist, which you'll find below (on Spotify) or on Apple Music. (Yes, the playlist reflects my emotions. There's a hopeful upswing toward the end of the playlist.)
How have you been experiencing these strange days? What's keeping you grounded and connected to gratitude? Leave a comment below or on the facebook community page; or find me on Instagram and exchange thoughts with me there.
* definitions my colleague Drew Benson, PhD, LP shared in today's gathering:
stress: perceived environmental demands exceed one's ability
fear: a present-oriented defensive response to an observable threat (e.g., a rattle snake)
anxiety: a future-oriented "diffuse apprehension" or general worry