In this five minute video Bessel Van Der Kolk, world renowned authority on trauma and author of The Body Keeps the Score, talks about how to deal with feelings of helplessness during these difficult times. He emphasises the importance of structuring your time and of retaining a sense of agency. We don’t know what’s going to happen or how to control it he says ‘so the only thing that we can control is our own reactions’.
Drawing on expert opinion in the fields of anxiety and trauma, cultural commentator David Brooks writes about the importance attunement in maintaining psychological health - attunement both with ourselves and with others. But he points out that this takes effort on our part.
He quotes university professor Martha Welch who says that ‘Being together is not the same as being connected’. It is important to have conversations where you can be open about your own feelings, but also where you genuinely listen as well. Allow time for each of you to take in what the other is saying. When used appropriately the internet opens up great opportunities for this kind of connection.
Experts also highlighted anything rhythmic as a way of combatting anxiety and creating an experience of attunement: singing, dancing, yoga, deep eye contact, daily rituals and games.
In her phone and online work with people who are anxious about coronavirus, Michaela’s clients say they have found this resource useful in helping them to deal with feelings of loss of control – whether in relation to the actions of others, the social restrictions imposed or the spread of the virus itself.
By distinguishing between the things we can and can’t control it provides a practical way of moving forward which reduces stress and avoids mental overload.