Handling Anxiety in a Time of Crisis

I had a wonderful conversation with Romina Muhametaj on her podcast “Coffee with Romina.” With rates of anxiety at troubling levels, we discussed how we can meet the challenges of anxiety and support loved ones who are having their own struggles. Oddly enough, as we grind through everything the pandemic and our response to it has torn apart, and as anxiety seals us in suffering we experience desperately alone, anxiety has become a common experience that links us as a community as we face unprecedented challenges and uncertainty. Together we can get through this.

Romina and I spoke about meditation, raising kids, empathy and leadership and the value of meaningful work… and iguanas falling from trees! Please listen to the podcast here.

If you’d like even more information about how to predict, prevent and manage episodes of anxiety, please buy a copy of my book Resilience: Handling Anxiety in a Time of Crisis.

Meditation

Meditation is an effective and inspiring therapy to help manage mental illness.

Years ago when I began meditating my life had been a long series of manic episodes, crushing depressions and frequent hospitalizations. Since establishing a daily meditation practice I have been stable, successful and without the need to ever check into a psychiatric facility.

I still take the medicine my doctor prescribes.  Meditation is an additional therapy that helps me to smooth out the severity of episodes and to notice when an episode may be beginning.  Then I'm able to implement an intervention I've worked out in advance with my doctor, family and friends and head off a debilitating event.

Much is promised by people touting mindfulness, and often for too little effort.  But undertaken seriously and deliberately, a regular meditation practice will benefit most people who stick to it. Sitting is not always pleasant - some difficult thoughts can come up and may be hard to shake. But when combined with medication and talk therapy, meditation is a powerful tool to help you live positively with the challenges of mental illness.

You don't need apps or expensive classes. Your time is best spent focusing on your breath and encountering, and letting go of, your thoughts, and sensing deeply into your body. Just notice what is going on within and around you. You'll discover where you are and where you don't have to be.

To learn how to begin click here.

For an example of open-monitoring meditation click here.