Gilbert therapist offers tips to manage anxiety-provoking time

mental health, coronavirus
Gilbert therapist Lauren Jones Goldbach said the coronavirus pandemic can produce anxiety on a variety of fronts. "There are things that we're all losing," she said. "We're losing a sense of safety. We're losing economically. We're losing interactions with other people." (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Gilbert therapist Lauren Jones Goldbach said the coronavirus pandemic can produce anxiety on a variety of fronts. "There are things that we're all losing," she said. "We're losing a sense of safety. We're losing economically. We're losing interactions with other people." (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

If the coronavirus pandemic has you feeling anxious, a Gilbert therapist says you can embrace it as an appropriate response to an anxiety-provoking situation.

Lauren Jones Goldbach, a licensed clinical social worker and certified clinical trauma professional with East Valley Trauma Counseling, said a group of therapists she meets with weekly is seeing a “huge increase” in anxiety—a response that makes sense given the present situation.

Emotions, she said, are information we can use.

“If we do wake up with panic or dread, when we open our eyes and realize we're still in this sort of a hellish nightmare, we want to acknowledge that ‘This anxiety keeps me safe. I don't want to lose the anxiety. I don't want to try to fight it and stop it,’” she said. “And, paradoxically, when you sort of pull it in closer and go, ‘Yep, this anxiety is good,’ it calms down.”

That primal fear serves a function in keeping us safe, Jones Goldbach said. It can keep us being conscientious about what we touch and keeping our hands away from our faces.


Depression on rise

Jones Goldbach said depression also has increased as quarantines keeps people apart and away from their regular activities.

“We're very, very social creatures,” she said. “Even people who are introverts are social creatures. Families that are completely isolating in their homes, what we're seeing actually is an increase in a lot of domestic violence issues, a lot of families not being able to handle the stress very well, more acting out from some teens who would normally not act out quite as much. And these are all functions of not having a good outlet right now.”

She said all of us are in some stage of grieving.

"One minute I think, 'I'm going to beat this. We're great. We're fine, I'm not going to get sick.' And then the next minute—and I'm a therapist—I'm going, 'Oh God, we're all gonna die.' And if I don't know what it is that's happening in my 'feeling brain,' I'm going to feel crazy. So I take a step back, and I acknowledge I'm going through a grief process."

Tips for managing

Jones Goldbach offered some tips for managing this period:

  • Create a social network and use it regularly, perhaps once a week. Jones Goldbach said she does a virtual happy hour on the Zoom application with friends.

  • Do more Facetiming. “It's not enough to just talk on the phone,” she said. “We need to see other people because we're social creatures.”

  • Spend at least a half hour each day outside on the front or back porch to get Vitamin D from sunlight, fresh air and the sense of not being cooped up in the house.

  • Limit your intake of information. Jones Goldbach said people should neither stop watching TV or reading social network posts about the virus nor should they be obsessive about it, which sends constant danger alarms to the brain. “I’m suggesting pick one trusted news source and look at it in the morning and then maybe two hours before bed, not right before bed,” she said.

  • Eat healthy. There is a connection between the gut and brain, she said. “That's why your stomach always tells us what's going on,” she said. “And if we eat healthier foods, we're going to make better neurotransmitters, the things that make us feel good.”

  • Play with your pet if you have one. “That releases oxytocin, which makes us feel good,” she said. Jones Goldbach said she is believer in having a pet in the home.

  • Tune into good things that are happening in the world. It brings balance at a time of stress and danger, she said.

  • Volunteer. This can be anywhere with safe, social distancing practices or online with a neighbors helping neighbors group, she said.


Good outcomes

Jones Goldbach said the current situation does bring some good. It brings renewed attention to properly taking care of ourselves, something she said we too often take for granted.

She also said it makes people realize a community can come together.

“It’s teaching people to be kinder in a lot of ways, to be more generous,” Jones Goldbach said. “Not everybody. It can bring out the worst in a lot of people, but it can definitely bring out the best in most. And if we focus on where it's bringing out the best in people, it lifts us up more.”
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


MOST RECENT

Gilbert Water Tower
Gilbert mayor makes second call for town to listen during unrest

Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels reiterated her message from the June 2 Town Council meeting in her June 3 weekly video message: The town must be listening during this period of unrest.

Jenn Daniels
As protests continue, Gilbert mayor calls for town to listen

Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels on June 2 called for the town to be listening to people of color and anyone who has been treated unfairly.

(Isabella Short/Community Impact Newspaper)
Help for those seeking the best bang for their buck

Updating your home does not have to break the bank

Here are the coronavirus updates to know today in Gilbert. (Community Impact staff)
COVID-19: Gilbert sees increase of 2 new cases June 3; state jumps more than 973 in day

Across Gilbert's six ZIP codes, there were 329 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 on June 2, according to data from the state

coronavirus economy
April unemployment in Gilbert reaches record high

Unemployment in Gilbert jumped to a record 11.3% in April, according to statistics from the Arizona Commerce Authority.

Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke; Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan; and Rev. Victor Hardy, the president and co-founder of Chandler Men of Action, sat down for a Facebook Live event June 1 to discuss the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the importance of unity in the city of Chandler. (Screenshot courtesy city of Chandler)
Leaders discuss protests and more: News from Chandler, Gilbert

Read the latest news from the Phoenix area.

Gilbert Public Safety
Curfew closes Gilbert meetings to public; no protests seen in town

The Gilbert Town Council meeting for June 2 will remain closed to the public, with crucial items tabled, as part of the town’s response to the statewide curfew, town officials said

Here are the coronavirus updates to know today in Gilbert. (Community Impact staff)
COVID-19: Gilbert jumps 23 new cases over weekend into June 1

Here are the coronavirus updates to know today in Gilbert.

The Arizona Department of Education released guidance for reopening schools. (Community Impact staff)
Arizona Department of Education releases roadmap for reopening schools for 2020-21 school year

The Arizona Department of Education released guidance for reopening schools.

Gov. Doug Ducey issued an emergency declaration and imposed a statewide curfew May 31. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Emergency curfew and more: Latest news from Chandler, Gilbert

Read the latest coverage of the Phoenix area from Community Impact Newspaper's website.

Gov. Doug Ducey issued an emergency declaration and imposed a statewide curfew May 31. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issues statewide declaration of emergency, curfew

Gov. Doug Ducey issued an emergency declaration and imposed a statewide curfew May 31.

Mayor Jenn Daniels, shown here addressing the audience at the 2020 Digital State of the Town, has issued a new emergency declaration for Gilbert. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Back-to-school scenarios, road closures: News from Gilbert, Chandler

Read some of Community Impact Newspaper’s latest coverage of Gilbert and Chandler.