21 Mar

How to be Worried, and Not Fall Apart

This is a good summary of anxiety in "central nervous system" terms from an article by Stephanie Rose on NEWS12-NJ:

To understand the basic physiological response in the body, I want you to think of yourself as a walking, talking nervous system. The central nervous system controls the automatic functions of the body that you don't think about on a day-to-day basis; like digestion, circulation, and breathing. It is generally active in one of two states - the fight or flight (sympathetic nervous system response) or the rest and digest (parasympathetic nervous system response). When we are constantly active in the fight or flight state, we can feel stressed, tense and overwhelmed. The palms sweat, the heart rate increases, and digestion shuts down as the body prepares to fight for survival. We evolved this way to preserve human life in the face of predators during early human history. 

The article goes on to recommend "intentional" breathing, deep breathing, or focusing on the inhale, as an antidote to chronic stress or an overactive fight or flight response. However, I find that this type of breathing is too difficult when our anxiety is extremely high, therefore I would recommend simple breath observation, followed by gradually lengthening the exhale, not the inhale. Try this for 2-5 minutes three times each day. 

Here is a very basic breath awareness exercise:


The following  is a simple, short and effective yoga routine: working with breathing to lessen agitation.


Here is another one.


Easy and fun "yoga" to help jumpy kids calm down a little. No poses required, just grab your earlobes and squat up and down.



Here is a rhythmic drumming track to promote a calmer mind/body state. Put it on in the background.


Could be a good time to explore Tai Chi.


Kelly McGonigal's short take on dealing with uncertainty and that which is beyond our control. Dr. McGonigal is a researcher, clinician and yoga professional; she's really smart and very engaging. She is well known in the current trauma field, for good reason.  I've also included a great guided meditation on body awareness and practicing mindfulness.



Joan Borysenko PhD is a cell biologist and psychologist, and an expert on the relationship between stress and health. Here, she talks about  stress and the immune system. She emphasizes good nutrition, especially lots of fruit and vegetables during this hyper stressful time. 


How not to clench your teeth.



EFT, also knows as "tapping", but it can be very effective. This technique is based upon the stimulation of meridian points used in acupuncture to relieve the intensity of anxiety symptoms. It's a basic "mind/body" technique in that it attends to acceptance  of upsetting thoughts in mind; and de-activation of associated distress in the body. It looks funny, but it can be really helpful.

"What is EFT Tapping?"


The Tapping Solution is operated by a brother/sister team who seem quite nice; they have a website, a FB and and an app with lots of free routines.  

Introduction to "Tapping Points":


Using tapping to breathe and open lungs:


Virtual 12 step meetings



Food Pantries

Ocean County:


Monmouth County:


Mental Health Crisis Lines

 Ocean County PESS 732-886-4474

 Monmouth County PESS 732-222-3030/732-923-6999

     adolescents/children 732-923-7250

Mental Health Hotlines and Referral Services

Mental Health Association of Monmouth County 732-542-6422


Ocean County Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services 800-382-1717


Mental health referral website, sponsored by Psychology Today Magazine:


Addiction referral service:


Online Support Groups, sponsored by Genesis House


Smoking cessation support, sponsored by RWJ/Barnabas Health


Local, affordable , high-quality mental health care:

http://www.njcha.org/  NJ Center for the Healing Arts  

SAMHSA’s free 24-hour Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990, if you feel lonely or need support

Values Into Action PA/NJ Resource Guide by Allison McGill: 


Financial/Social Service Assistance:

If you need help paying Home Energy Bills: 


If you need help paying rent: 


If you need cash or food assistance: 


If you are caring for a family member with disabilities: 


Inspiring Stuff

How to not lose your mind in a pandemic. These links might  be outdated a year into this, but I'm keeping them up because I love them.

Every home-schooling mothers' heroine. The best! a must-watch, a true public service. I'm running with this lead...


A family re-interprets Les Miserables for 2020. Wow, all I can say.


Thwarted marathoner runs marathon on his balcony:

Very funny and interesting take on humans, plagues and mass panic!


This has nothing to do with Coronavirus except that it's just amazing and is making me hopeful about the future of the human race. 


Finally ...You Have 5 Minutes, Don't You?

Coping with the What If's


5 minute tapping exercise to relieve anxiety.


This is a great short meditation I found years ago on YouTube. No frills "be here now."  Listen with a housemate. Comes with Scottish brogue.