Things are a little bizarre and crazy right now. It is safe to say that everyone is in panic mode, feeling all sorts of anxiety and stress. With the current virus and health pandemic going around the entire world and other natural disasters we are facing, anxiety is ramping up in today’s world. Anxiety is our body’s way of preparing for things to come and wanting to do something about it. Toilet paper and water bottles aren’t going to fix the fear and anxiety we have of the health pandemic and other disasters. What will fix the fear we all are facing is focusing on things that will actually help us minimize stress and maximize safety. There are four simple strategies we can do to help us take down stress and make sure we are safely prepared for the future.
- We need to focus on influence, not concerns. Ultimately, there is only so much time in the day to get things done and focus on things that need to be completed. That being said, we need to make the most of our time and focus on the things we can change. You can’t change that there is a health pandemic going around and you can’t change the fact that our world is ever changing. We can’t change the world economy, what others do, viruses, etc. What we can do is focus on things that will actually make an impact and things that you can influence. Change your influence by changing where you go and how you behave in certain situations. Take the necessary precautions we have been asked to consider and have a positive attitude about it. There is a lot that we can’t change, but we can change our influence in the way we react to these situations and how we spend our time each day.
- We need to act on our anxiety, not just talk about it. Anxiety and activity go hand in hand. Instead of calling your friends and talking about everything that is going on, take that time to act on your anxiety and make a difference. The more you talk to others about what is going on, the more your fear and worry is going to grow. Instead, take that time to do something abour your anxiety and help your body relax and prepare for upcoming situations.
- We need to get informed on what is going on, not obsessed about it. Reality is everything you read on the internet isn’t going to be factual. Nothing will help you feel more safe and prepared than having a good source of information. Take that factual, solid information and use it to help you prepare. That being said, don’t obsess over it. Take what you need and learn what you must, but don’t obsess over it and watch sources all day long. Instead of going to random, invalid websites, go to government secured, community and religious sources for updates. Take that information to influence how you act. Turn off the incessant watching of cable news networks. Focus on valid information that will help you to act on your anxiety in a safe and sufficient way, not obsessing over invalid information.
- We should do to minimize stress and maximize our safety is serve those in need. Everyone is struggling right now and could use a helping hand. At the end of the day, you only have your principles and values to live by. That is what you should hold true to. A major worldwide health pandemic should not make us lose sight of what matters most in life. Stay true to who you are and use your values and principles to uplift and serve others. It is great that you got to Costco to buy toilet paper and water bottles, but instead of keeping it all for yourself, take it to a widow in your ward or a family who might need it a little extra right now. Take it to an old couple who might not feel comfortable or might have a hard time getting to a grocery store right now. Peace doesn’t just come from preparedness, but it also comes from service. Taking the time that you might have spent reading articles about the virus and spending that time on helping will not only help those you are serving, but it will help your anxiety decrease as this is an evolving situation.
Therefore, if you focus on your influence, act on your anxiety, get informed and serve others, your stress will be minimized and your safety will be maximized. You will be more prepared for these tough situations and you will feel a sense of calm and peace in your life.
By Dr. Matt Townsend
Dr. Matt Townsend
For about two decades, Dr. Matt Townsend has been energizing and involving audiences with his unique approach to building and maintaining successful relationships. Known as one of America’s top presenters in the field of Human Relations and Development, Matt blends humor and storytelling with interactive, real-life solutions that inspire motivation and immediate results in his audiences.
Having dedicated his life to the study of communication and interpersonal relationships, Matt has worked extensively in the areas of results-oriented communication, conflict resolution and time management training. As a lead presenter for industry leader, Franklin Covey, Matt worked with the Family & Special Market Division and created the company’s largest train-the-trainer program. Since working at Franklin Covey, Matt founded the Townsend Relationship Center and its affiliate firms, Capacity Consulting and Townsend Relationship Center. Through these entities, Matt has shared his expertise about relationships, communication and conflict resolution with thousands of clients ranging from individuals, married couples and parents, to large corporations.
Matt is a weekly contributor to Utah's KSL TV show “Studio 5 with Brooke Walker”. Matt's book Starved Stuff: The 7 Basic Needs of Healthy Relationships is a popular pick among those searching for better relationship skills. Matt also has many online programs available for marriage, dealing with anxiety and parenting.
Dr. Matt earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Communication, a second master's degree in Human Development, and a doctoral degree (PhD) in Human Development. In addition to his professional work, Matt actively dedicates his time as a volunteer guest speaker and is active in his church and community. He enjoys playing tennis, swimming and spending time with his wife Mardi, of 29 years, and their six children (5 boys and 1 girl), 1 son-in-law, and three grand kids.