COVID-19: Mindset

31 March 2020

Many people with anxiety are angry at themselves for worrying. We have all of these COVID-19 worries, and then we beat ourselves up for spending so much time obsessing over it.

In this episode, I will discuss the idea of the nurturing coach (or nurturing parent) and how we can develop a more positive relationship with our anxiety.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):

Hey, it's Chris here with an episode on COVID-19 and controlling and managing your anxiety around the Corona virus outbreak. And today I want to talk a bit about the mindset and about how we treat ourselves. Because I talked a lot in my sports psychology course about this idea of this nurturing coach, like nurturing parent. It's generally referred to in wider psychology. And a lot of times we're really hard on ourselves. Like we have all this anxiety and we think we're weak and we can't cope. Uh, and we have all this worrying. We can't stop the worry and then we beat ourselves up because we can't stop worrying. We know it's unproductive, but we can't stop it. And then we start throwing more names ourselves for being too weak to resist the worrying. And the reality is that, uh, you know, we, we, we are who we are to use a meaningless truism, but you know, we didn't choose to be born through the way we are.

Speaker 1 (01:05):

If you've got a predisposition to anxiety, then that's just how it is. And that doesn't necessarily mean you're weak. It means there's a problem with your frat detection system, but actually all the stuff that goes on after that, the, the obsessive worrying is just one normal healthy brain would do. But also we can, we can choose how we respond to that, right? We can kind of agree with ourselves and just let ourselves be ourselves up. Or we can choose to embrace this idea of that the nurturing parent, the nurturing coach. And you know, if your child was obsessively worrying, if you're a parent, if not, just imagine it. And they were like, Oh, just can't stop worrying about this. Would you say, would you say just start worrying about that? Would you be like, yeah, you're rubbish, you're weak, or would you be like, yeah, that's okay.

Speaker 1 (02:00):

It's okay. I still love you. Uh, if that's what's happening, then that's okay. We just accept that and we'll, we'll just keep going with our lives anyway and try to make the best of it. And that's the same attitude that we want to talk to ourselves with. So when we find ourselves obsessively worrying, could a bit of a croaky throat here, hope it's not start of a persistent cough, then we can say to ourselves, don't worry Chris, I still love you anyway. We'll make the best of the situation. I think you're cool. I think you're awesome. It's just get get on with our life and we can really kind of then choose how we respond to that. Especially like when, number one concerns I hear is people are worried about their family getting sick and them not being able to cope and it might be true as, as an anxiety sufferer, you might find that situation really hard.

Speaker 1 (03:02):

You'll probably find you a lot stronger than you think though. And you also, to some extent, we have the ability to, even though we can't change the facts, we can change our reaction to the facts. That's one of the big things that Albert Ellis spoke about here is ABC mazal apps, activating event, belief and consequences. So the activating event, in this case, the code 19 pandemic is one thing, but it's also our belief that we have about that. It's how we'll cope, how we'll manage, whether we are strong enough to deal with that and the consequences or worry are a result of this belief. So different people, different beliefs will handle this kind of underlying activating event differently. And that's our reaction and it's really hard to change. But we do have some control. Even though we can't change the facts, we can change our reaction.

Speaker 1 (04:01):

And a really good tip to try and do that is to try and role play the person you want to be. So I'm all benign everyday example. Let's say, uh, someone is talking to you, they're pouring their heart out. You maybe don't think of yourself as a good listener. That's probably an anxiety bias. But, um, instead of trying to force yourself to be a good listener role play, what a friend who is a good listener would do and say to them and whatever happens in your kind of role play in your head, just say that to them. And what you'll do is you'll end up being a good listener because you're doing that well. We can do a similar kind of thing here in that if you know you're worried about your family getting sick, they're all worried as well. Maybe, maybe this is the first time that everyone in your family is worried rather than just you and suddenly they're all getting a taste of anxiety as well.

Speaker 1 (05:02):

It could be useful in future, but you want to be a strong leader in your family. Well, you can try and pretend to be that, but you can also just like roleplay, what a strong leader would mean. Whatever you think that means to you. Just imagine what a fictional character would do in that situation and try and embrace that so that kind of being strong for everyone else, you don't, it's not really a fake it till you make it thing because you're not pretending to be that person. You're just imagining what that person would do and then you're doing the same thing and it doesn't matter how you feel. Does it matter how nervous you are? But if you can get yourself into that mindset, that can be really useful, and then whatever happens, just remember that nurturing parent idea of just being really encouraging and really full of love. Whatever happens, even if things are going your way, even if you're not coping that well, don't compound the problem by being mean to yourself. Try and foster that idea of acceptance and love, and even when you're not coping well, just offer that unconditional positive regard as Carl Rogers would encourage us to do. Just to be really nice to ourselves and be accepting of what's going on.


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