In this unprecedented and uncertain time, here are three simple questions to ask yourself that may help in managing anxiety or fear. Over the years, I have learned to ask myself these questions when dealing with challenging times, whether major crises, worrying moments or sleepless nights caused by being overwhelmed.
When faced with difficult or negative situations, Jane Baxter Lynn of JBL Strategies, a nonprofit strategic advisory business based in Austin, Texas, has learned to ask herself three simple questions in managing anxiety or fear:
- “Can I do something about ‘it’ right now?” If so, I do ‘it’ or at least begin doing ‘it’. In this current unprecedented moment, I immediately: hunkered down to avoid infecting or being infected; looked for ways that I could assist my local neighbors and our nonprofit community and the clients they serve, and reached out to family, friends and colleagues to see how they’re doing, which I’m sure you’re all doing too.
- If the answer to the above question is “No, not immediately.”, then ask yourself “Can I do something about ‘it’ later?” If yes, write ‘it’ down along with a plan for when you’ll do ‘it’. As I always say, the beauty of a plan is that you can change it! Especially in these uncertain times, having a plan gives you something to focus on and/or to which to look forward.
- If the answer to question 2 is “No”, ask yourself “Is there anything I can do about ‘it’ ever?” If the answer is absolutely nothing, then let ‘it’ go. Set it aside and move on to things you can do, rather than spending energy on something over which you have no control that simply causes anxiety and unproductivity.
It’s not easy. However, with intentional practice, it can become second nature.