Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people are forced to go on lockdown resulting into anxiety. Even if you are just at home, it does not mean that you do not have things that you need to do. Here are some ways to feel less anxious.
The current situation of the world may cause people to suffer from anxiety, as no one knows what will happen in the next couple of months. According to psychology, you can keep yourself busy to divert your attention from the goings-on, and crossing things off a to-do list is relaxing and satisfying.
Creating a to-do list is a great way to decrease anxiety. To-do lists provide a solid structure and it can also provide a visible record of all the things that you have accomplished so far in the day.
One tip is to reframe your to-do list as a set of small goals that you can achieve and to think of your list as steps that you need to take towards a bigger plan. An unfinished goal may interfere with the other tasks that you are trying to finish.
However, making a plan to achieve that specific goal, like detailing all the steps on your list, can help your mindset it aside so that you can focus on other important things.
An associate professor of psychology at Wake Forest University, E.J. Masicampo, said that when a goal is unfinished, it might be a weight on your mind in terms of worry or anxiety and it colors how you see the bigger picture because it is in your subconscious.
A study in 2011 published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people with unfinished short-term goals perform poorly on comprehension tasks and reading tasks.
The participants in the study were allowed to formulate specific plans for their goals before they were moved onto the next task, and it showed that the negative effects were gone.
Creating a to-do list
Jordan Etkin, an associate professor of marketing at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, said that to-do lists may sometimes become commitments. Once you write an activity on a piece of paper, it's work undone.
The more things that people put on their lists, the more open they are to creating goal conflict and its negative downstream effects.
According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Marketing Research, conflicting goals can usually create stress and it can even overwhelm the feelings of a person because it may seem like there are not enough hours in the day to complete the task.
In order to create a correct to-do list, it is important that people define their goals and differentiate the tasks they want to get done today versus the tasks that they want to do someday. Etkin stated that tasks need to be clearly ranked in terms of importance.
Challenges happen when people treat their to-do lists like wish lists instead of the things that they want to do. It is also important to remember that having a productive to-do list should not make you feel like you can't take a break. To do-lists can be great tools to help us feel less anxious and keep us going during this lockdown boredom.
How about you, how do you overcome anxiety?
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