Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Waiting for News? Eight Ways to Cope

Lately, I’ve found myself in the position of waiting for news on many fronts. Waiting for medical news, waiting for financial news, waiting for job news. I don’t even like to wait in line at the supermarket—I get terribly restless--so waiting for important and potentially disturbing news isn’t something that I do easily. But of course, that’s life. Eventually you’ll take a medical test and need to wait for the results, or you’ll take an important certification test or a final exam that won’t be graded for a week, or apply for a job or a mortgage or a loan or you’ll ask someone to marry you and they’ll want time to think it over—all waiting scenarios.

To wait calmly and gracefully challenges everything that's human within us. How can you cope with that in-between time, when you don’t know what you’re dying to know—yet? Here are some tips to reduce stress:

Stay off the internet. Put that machine away. Doing research on the possible deadly illnesses you might have while waiting for the medical tests to come back won’t sway the results, and may work you up into such a frenzy that you’ll make yourself sick, even if your test results come back just fine. Researching foreclosures while waiting for the bank to review your refinance application won’t help, either, nor will going on while waiting to hear back from the person you just proposed to.

Do NOT try to ignore the feelings you’re experiencing. Do NOT belittle yourself for feeling anxious. Your feelings are natural and universal and human and even instinctive. They are your system’s way of signaling you that it might be wise to prepare for a change.

Create a safe space. Dedicate a particular spot in your home as your personal haven. Put objects that you love and that make you feel safe there, and then allow yourself the luxury of spending as much time as you need there.
Stay off of caffeine. You probably have more than enough stress pumping through your system without speeding it up even more.

Don’t try to numb yourself with narcotics. Drinking alcohol or doing drugs or overeating will make you feel lousy in the end.If you need a substance to help you relax, try valerian or melatonin, neither of which will undermine your health or linger in your system. Exercise can also help enormously with stress.

Care for yourself like you’re a baby. You really need nurturing to help with the anxiety. Eat healthy comfort foods, get extra rest, take long baths.

Allow yourself the indulgence of having comfort objects around you. Now may be the time to wear that special outfit, to sit on the couch with that fluffy blanket pulled up around your body, to watch your favorite movie again.

TALK to people. Don’t isolate. Let others know what you’re going through. Ask for support.

Practice whatever stress-reduction techniques or strategies for reducing anxiety that work for you, whether meditation, prayer, EFT, TAT, hypnosis, listening to music, calling your coach, and so on.
What suggestions do you have for ways to reduce stress and anxiety and make it through the waiting time?

Dr. Hiyaguha Cohen offers life coaching by Skype or phone and in-person Hawaii counseling.

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