Author: Kari Kagan, Psy.D.
Living through a global pandemic is a universally stressful and traumatic experience. I have yet to come across a person who cannot wait for this to "end" so we can all regain some sense of normalcy. Given the chronic stress we are all experiencing, it is understandable that people look to the future to imagine what kinds of joys and freedoms await us on the other side of this (I am personally looking forward to hugging my friends and family). Looking to the future can be a helpful coping strategy in that it can remind us of the temporary nature of this situation and instill hope. However, the difficult reality we are facing is that we have been living with this "new norm" for almost one year now, and these moments of our lives are just as important as the ones BC (before coronavirus) and ones that we will have AC (after coronavirus). As such, I would like to share a self-compassion strategy to help you find joy, meaning, and peace in the present moment. I encourage you to take a moment out of your day, and for five breaths, let go of any thoughts about the future. See if there is any joy, meaning, or peace to be found in this present moment. Perhaps you feel comforted by the warmth of the sun on a winter day, or joyful when you hear the sound of your children's laughter. Yes, these are fleeting moments, but taking the time to slow down and acknowledge them can make the present count. I encourage you to try practicing this present moment strategy once per day for at least a week and notice the impact it has. I hope it brings a little more peace during these difficult times.
Diana Gordon, Psy.D., Kari Kagan Psy.D., and Katie Leoni, Psy.D.
Drs. Gordon, Kagan, and Leoni practice psychotherapy in downtown San Francisco and Oakland. Their areas of expertise include anxiety, sleep, stress, depression, and addiction. They blog about these topics to provide research-based information about common problems and strategies to help manage them.