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  • Larry Deavers, LICSW

Focus on This to Lessen Your Stress

Dealing with the anxiety that can come from the changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19 pandemic can sometimes bring us to the point of mild (or severe) panic. One way of managing this is by focusing your attention on what is happening right now, right in front of you. Focusing your attention on this moment and what you need to do right now brings your attention back into the realm of what you can control, rather than what you cannot.

As you begin focusing on each individual moment and see each one as a free-standing opportunity to win, you can be much more intentional about making the right decision that supports your goal. When your only definition of victory is achieving your ultimate, long-term goal, it becomes daunting to continue the work to get there without feeling as if you are having any successes along the way. With that approach, each setback is also an opportunity to simply give up. With this mindset, it is easy to forget all the right decisions you make most of the time and to let yourself feel disheartened by the failures. However, when you begin noting all those moments when you do win, you develop a more objective view of how often you are successful.

Once you begin to focus on winning the moment and see each of those moments as a victory, then you will feel more empowered to make it through those moments when you feel most vulnerable to giving in. Even if you fail sometimes, you can still win the next moment. And, you likely will not have to be entirely focused on winning every moment for the rest of your life, but for those moments when your temptation to become anxious is greatest, you can recognize what is happening and win that moment, or perhaps a few moments, until the temptation dies down.

Over time, if you string together enough moments where you win, you will find that you have developed new ways of dealing with your anxiety, celebrating the successes and relaxing that are free of any old, self-destructive patterns. Once you have reached that point, you may be surprised at how much less powerful those old temptations become. But, still – don’t let your guard down!


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