TAMMY SASSOON, M.S.ED
If I had to name a few new disorders that could have developed in 2020 here would be a small list…
“Toothpaste Scarcity Anxiety”
“Will There Be Food” Fright?
“Children at Home Panic Disorder”
“Will There Be Camp? Horror”
“Will There Be School? Uncertainty Disorder” “Will Schools Ever Open? Dread”
“Voter’s Anxiety Disorder” “Generalized 2020 Anxiety Disorder”
UNCERTAINTY TAKES AN EMOTIONAL TOLL
Here we are at the end of 2020, having no clue what the future of our family lives or the future of our country will look like. If you are like many people, you may have had lots of nerves creeping up, and all the uncertainty has been getting to you.
So, how do you thrive with all those daunting thoughts in the back (or front!) of your mind? Let’s look at the natural, innate state of psychological wellness that you were born with. All babies are born happy and secure (that means you AND your kids). Nobody has to teach babies how to smile, or how to stop crying once they receive their food. Happiness and security are just part of our hard-wiring. We were not born with any opinions or beliefs. We either learned somewhere that we CANNOT cope with challenges and uncertainty or that we CAN cope with challenges or uncertainty. Now, as adults, we can choose which beliefs we want to hold on to.
YOU CAN SURVIVE THE CHALLENGES HASHEM SENDS YOU
Personally, I like to ONLY hold on to universal truths given to us straight from Hashem (We are so lucky that Hashem gave us an exact road map on how to live and think!). And one of those universal truths is that each challenge that comes a person’s way is uniquely designed with tons of LOVE, as an opportunity to fill their unique purpose in this world! (Yup, each of you has a very special role that nobody else on the planet could fill!)
Imagine that while you are serving your family dinner one night you find yourself barraged by unhelpful thoughts about being sent a challenge that you REALLY can’t live with. Your emotions become so intense that you almost start yelling at your children so loudly that all the neighbors could hear. You stop yourself and recognize that you are simply having unhelpful thoughts. It is time for a reset. You then can move to being in a subdued mood instead of being out of control. With this awareness of your unhelpful thoughts, you realize that you are perfectly capable of sitting with that discomfort, and you can be the mother you wish to be for your children.
Since we really have zero clue what our futures will look like (and indeed we will always experience one challenge or another – how can we grow if we don’t?!), hold on to this truth… Know that way before any challenge comes your way (no matter how huge it is), you have everything you need inside you to push through it and bring more light and joy into the world, as you make it a better place!
Now with that kind of knowledge – what is there to be worried about?
STEPS TO TAKE TO COUNTER YOUR WORRIES
If you find yourself feeling intense emotions, making you feel like you’re drowning in anxiety and worry, follow these steps:
Respect Your Feelings – Know, without judgement, that feeling any feeling is simply a part of the human condition. There is nothing wrong with you if you are feeling afraid!
Identify Your Thoughts – Are they helpful? Are they helping you to plan for the future? Or on the flipside, are they unhelpful? Do they bring you down? Are even they 100% true?
Reset Your Thinking – If you have identified your thoughts as unhelpful, RESET your thinking! It’s time to assure yourself that you are 100% safe, and that Hashem has created each and every one of us with the tools we need to get through any challenge in life.