Why You Must Be Gentle With Yourself To Take Control Of COVID-19 Anxiety

be gentle with yourself

When things get stressful and hectic, it can help to remind ourselves that anxiety is trying to help us, alert us, focus our attention on things that are most important. Never comfortable, but deeply motivating, anxiety keeps us focused on the things that matter, and bolsters our coping so long as we can keep our perspective broad, and positive. It is easier to do this when you enact a mindset of compassion and can be gentle with yourself.

Not only can a positive perspective improve our experience of anxiety and stress, but it fundamentally changes how we relate to it, and puts us in the emotional driver’s seat. Too often, anxiety feels like something that’s happening to us, rather than something we actually can control. Being gentle with yourself and your anxiety can help you stick with your feelings to figure out what they are trying to tell you.

According to the science of emotional co-construction, how we think about anxiety actually defines how we experience it. Translating our experience into words – even if to ourselves – is a key first step in taking emotional control, and nudging our anxiety to the positive. When we maintain control of our anxiety narrative, we maintain control of our experience, and thus what we do with it.

But we can’t do this if we are constantly fighting with ourselves. Taking a mindset of compassion can allow you to be gentle with yourself just long enough enough to stay with your discomfort and figure out what it is trying to teach you.

Next time anxiety strikes, aim to breathe into it, recognize it’s trying to tell you something important, and know you can handle its discomfort. When we turn into our anxiety, we unlock its inherent energy to help us.


For more help managing anxiety and learning to use it as a tool, check out my book Hack Your Anxiety and the online digital tools I’ve developed here, or sign up for my free mini e-course here.





Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Alicia H. Clark, PsyD