Let These Practices Help You Through Your Day

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You're not imagining it: Everyone really is as stressed and scared as you are. The COVID-19 pandemic has become a globally unifying experience is just about the world way imaginable. Escaping it feels difficult, not least because there's really nowhere to go.

Yet researchers do have some guidance on helping us get through bad times like these, because they've been watching mass trauma events for a long time already. Psychologists at Binghamton University have just released a study about resilience that draws on lessons learned from New York City residents after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

"People are unique," said coauthor Craig Polizzi, "and the way they cope should be consistent with their needs and values." The researchers lay out the three C's of coping: control, coherence, and connectedness. The last can be achieved with frequent outreach, even if your brain is sort of fried on Zoom calls. Coherence means making sense of your world, and can benefit from mindfulness practices or meditation. Even just slowing down and staying present, without multitasking, can feed your sense of coherence.

As for control, one of the easiest ways to impose structure on your life (and reinforce your own sense of agency) is to make and keep lists. Let yourself have your guilty pleasures. Organize and lean into your own best schedule. Journal and plan for the future. Make sure your news intake doesn't constantly freak you out. Staying home all the time is exhausting, and might make you feel powerless or small. In this case, nothing could be further from the truth.