Coping with Feelings of Anxiety and Uncertainty During Covid-19

Kerry Moller & Associates - Therapy in Vancouver - Coping with Feelings of Anxiety and Uncertainty During Covid-19

There is so much uncertainty in the world right now.

Job security, layoffs, and worries over the market…

Not knowing if our lives will ever return to what they once were…

Parents wondering if it’s safe to have their kids at school and how long the kids will continue to go there…

People juggling full-time jobs with little or no childcare…

Unknowns and uncertainties (such as the many we are experiencing during Covid-19) tend to bring up a lot of overwhelming emotions.

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Struggling to cope with the global pandemic? We’re here to help.

Kerry Moller & Associates - Therapy in Vancouver - Struggling to cope with the global pandemic? We're here to help.

These past few weeks have seen unprecedented change with the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. Many people are suddenly spending the majority of time at home – either in voluntary or mandated quarantine. Trying to adjust to this new reality of global pandemic has had far-reaching effects on people’s emotional, financial and physical health.

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Three ways to stop battling with Anxiety

Kerry Moller and Associates - steps to stop anxiety

Anxiety is the most common concern that people want to work on in therapy. Anxiety is a natural response to aversive events; therefore, a certain amount of anxiety is normal and to be expected. However, when we judge anxiety as bad and battle with it, this invites anxiety to be an ongoing experience rather than a fleeting reaction to a stressful situation.

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Three ways to help your child with anxiety

Kerry Moller and Associates - Three ways to help your child with anxiety

In today’s modern life, anxiety in children and teens is escalating, now affecting upwards of 20% of children and adolescents over the lifespan. Here are three highly effective techniques that parents can use to help their children not only overcome anxiety, but prevent it. When these practices are implemented as a daily ritual, like brushing teeth, your child will be more likely to develop healthy coping strategies for managing their anxiety going forward.

1) Calming

Just like adults, children are going to have intense, bodily responses to anxiety. Because it’s impossible to be physically calm and anxious at same time, it’s important to teach children how to calm their bodies from a young age. One of the quickest ways to calm the body is to practice belly breathing. Get your child to pretend they are filling a balloon in their belly: inhale slowly and inflate the belly like a balloon, hold the balloon full for one second, and then exhale slowly deflating the balloon. In just 3-5 breaths, your child will begin to calm down.

It’s important for the child to get used to this feeling of calm, and visit it often. Practice belly breathing with your child regularly throughout the day and before bed. If they can practice belly breathing for 30 seconds to a minute before bed, your child will begin to learn that this state of calm is within them and accessible at any time.

2) Awareness

Help your child develop mind-body awareness using the following activity. First, acknowledge and validate the feelings your child is reporting or exhibiting. Next, help them draw a connection between what’s happening in their bodies and the feelings of being “scared” or “anxious.” Find a picture of a body (or an outline of a body) on the internet, sit down with your child, and map out exactly what is happening inside their body when they feel anxious. Get them to point to the different parts of the image (or their own body) and speak to what is going on for them when they feel anxious. This practice helps your child develop self-awareness, and helps normalize the feelings and sensations that come along with anxiety.

3) Brainstorm and Externalize

We can often be baffled, along with our children, as to what is really bothering them. Don’t be afraid to sit down with your child and collaboratively brainstorm what might be triggering anxiety: Are they worried about going to grandma’s house, where there’s a dog, and they are afraid of dogs? Are they anxious about going to school because there’s a mean kid there they haven’t told you about?

Once you’ve discovered some of the factors in your child’s anxiety, you can externalize the anxiety using the beauty of children’s imaginations! Perhaps your child thinks of anxiety as a worry monster. If you have a teenager, they may describe it as a cloud. Pay attention to whatever metaphor or image your child gravitates to, and use that image to externalize anxiety as a certain character or entity. Ask them what it looks like, what is says, what tricks is plays on them, and what super powers they have that might help them resist the worry monster. Externalizing anxiety allows children to realize that it’s “not them” that’s the problem. This recovers a sense of agency and empowerment.

We hope these techniques serve your children well. If you want more support in the process of helping your child or teenager cope with anxiety or fear, feel free to contact Kerry Moller & Associates, and we would be happy to help you. Helping your child learn these practices while they are young can set them up for a lifetime of being able effectively manage their anxiety and fear, so that it doesn’t negatively impact them!

photo: Kristin Horsman

Introducing Arunima Sharma

Arunima Sharma - Registered Clinical Counsellor in Vancouver, BC

We are pleased to announce the addition of Arunima Sharma to our practice. Arunima is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with a Master’s degree in Integral Counselling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and a Bachelor degree in Psychology from University of British Columbia. She is passionate about helping clients from all walks of life discover inner strength, resilience, and a deeper connection to self and others.

Over the last 6 years, Arunima has worked with individuals, couples and families struggling with issues including anxiety, depression, addictions, eating disorders, trauma, grief, concerns around intimacy and sexuality, and those embarking on existential inquiry. Her counselling approach is mindfulness-based, humanistic, body-focused and relational; she blends various modalities into a unique alchemy based on the needs and goals of each client.

As an immigrant and global citizen, Arunima intimately understands the struggles of belonging, acculturation, the sense of separation, and resulting feelings of loss, anxiety and social isolation. Using a systems, multi-cultural, and transpersonal approach, Arunima helps people discover their truth. In the process, her clients feel more resilient, resourceful, independent, connected with themselves and others. With years of experience working across the globe, Arunima has a deep appreciation for human diversity, and for the universality that exists in our human needs, aspirations and longings.

To make an appointment with Arunima or to ask any questions you might have, please call 604-314-1839 or email