Do you feel stressed beyond belief these days? You're not alone.
Day 1: There Is Hope
Do you feel stressed beyond belief these days?
You are not alone.
I've been working in therapy with people with anxiety challenges for more than twenty years, and every time I think I see a time of unprecedented stress in our culture, the next time seems to hit even harder. Political worries. Economic uncertainty. Global pandemics. Toxic workplaces. It's not a shock that anxiety disorders have been rising each year in the United States, and many people report stress levels higher than we have seen in a long, long time (if ever.)
This challenge comes to you at a unique time, of course. It was conceived as a follow-up to the original Detox Your Thoughts challenge—a month-long course that so many of you took and found helpful that it sparked a book. But little did we know when we first began to outline this course that it would come on the heels of one of the most anxiety-provoking times in recent history.
People in the United States have spent Spring trying to manage the effects of COVID-19, the global pandemic that has taken so many lives. The ripple effects of the disruption are far-reaching, from job loss and economic fallout to social isolation and panic. While I have decided not to focus solely on the pandemic for this challenge (there is, thankfully, a steady stream of COVID-19-specific resources available online and in other media) each of these tools are nonetheless designed to bring you anxiety relief in the current moment.
So whether you are struggling due to COVID-19, something else, or some combination of "all of the above," this challenge is meant to bring you help right now.
It's worth mentioning that there are many long-term solutions that help treat chronic stress and anxiety. If your struggle feels insurmountable and is interfering with your daily life in ways that make you miserable, please consider professional help. There are a variety of science-backed paths to feeling better, including new and promising techniques in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, and medication. And many therapists offer teletherapy, which can bring you the benefits of professional help without leaving your home.
But you want help now, with tips you can put into action right here on your own, and that's what this challenge is here for. Over the course of seven more emails, we will work directly on your current experience. We will focus on helping you find your peace in the moment, to soothe your nerves, lower your stress response, and increase your calm. We want to bring you help that you don't have to wait for: small but important techniques that you can begin using right away.
Identify three specific factors in your daily life that are causing stress for you right now.
List three ways that you are currently responding to that stress.
Decide which of those ways you want to change, and what you'd rather do instead (if known.)
Do you know someone who would love our Guide to Overcoming Anxiety?