During a public health crisis like this one, it's normal for your brain to be asking a lot of what ifs. What if I or my loved ones become sick? What if we run out of money to pay for rent and food? Or maybe, what if I run out of things to watch on Netflix?
Now, asking yourself what if can be helpful in making plans and taking important precautions to prevent some of those what ifs from happening. But asking what if too much, especially when we don't have that much control over some of those things happen or not, that can lead to emotions like worry, fear, and upset. The first step in helping yourself with what ifs is to realize when your brain is spending too much time on them.
When your brain does this, it sends your thoughts into the future, a worst case scenario future. So the first step is to realize what your brain is doing and then to remind yourself that this worst case scenario future, it hasn't actually happened. Next, try using your five senses to bring yourself away from the future and back into the present into the here and now. Start by asking yourself in your mind what's one thing that I can see in front of me right now. For example, for me, I can see the camera that I'm using to film this.
Next, ask yourself what's one thing that I can hear. Even if you're in a very quiet place, if you listen hard, it's very likely you'll be able to hear maybe traffic off in the distance, a neighbor walking around upstairs. Next, ask yourself how does my body feel. What's the temperature like right now? Am I cool? Am I warm? If you're sitting, what does the seat cushion feel like? Is it hard, is it firm, or is it soft?
Finally, ask yourself, is there any scent in the air that I can smell? Is there any lingering taste in my mouth? Once you use your five senses to bring your thoughts back to the present, you can decide where you want your thoughts to go next.