I hope we are finally getting a handle on the pandemic, but I have developed high blood pressure during the pandemic. My whole family is tense, and there are more angry outbursts than pre-pandemic. I want the old normal for my family. My sleep is interrupted more than before. I think about the same things over and over and over. I am fearful my family will break up. What are your suggestions, Carolyn? I read your column regularly.
This fact pattern sounds like you, and perhaps your whole family, has anxious psychological issues that may benefit from counseling with a psychologist. See a medical doctor for high blood pressure. Approximately 44 million Americans are suffering from some level of anxiety. Recurrent thoughts are called rumination.
Here are six suggestions: 1) If the recurrent thoughts have a positive side, try to use the positive side to set goals. 2) Write down your thoughts, which may get the thoughts out of your head. 3) Find a positive narrative out of the thoughts. The negative outbursts toward you in the family likely have nothing to do with you. 4) The problem as a whole may look insurmountable, but it may be manageable if you break it down into tiny parts. 5) Rehearse your relaxation procedure before bed. Perhaps take a hot both and drink some sleepy time tea, such as Yogi. 6) Finally, be kind to yourself. Don’t judge yourself. Be positive about your self-image.
Engage your family with these steps after you practice them yourself. The pandemic has been stressful for most in America, if not in the world. It is our job to decide if we want to come out of it stronger or weaker.
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