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A Path to Resilience in the Face of COVID-19

Here are four scientifically-backed techniques to help instill calm, control, and hope.  Practice these daily with loved ones.

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Breathe Deeply

Calming your mind and reducing anxiety begins with catching your breath.

Try this exercise:

  • Take a deep breath in over four counts.
  • Hold while counting to four.
  • Exhale over four counts.
  • Hold again for four.
  • Repeat.

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Set Small Goals

An achievable goal gives us purpose and control in uncertain times. Set specific, short-term goals for your situation.

For example:

  • "I will replace my weekly lunch with friends with a phone call or text," instead of "I will use social distancing."
  • "I will only check the news for 30 minutes each morning during this isolation period," instead of "I will read less news."

Reframe Thinking

Challenge negative and catastrophic thoughts to take away their power. Focus on things you can control.

For example:

  • Instead of thinking, "My dad is in a high risk category. If he gets COVID, he won't make it." Try thinking, "My dad is in a high-risk category and I'm worried, but my worrying is normal. He is keeping his distance from others and I will check on him daily."
  • Instead of thinking, "How can I make ends meet when I can't work the way I need to?" Try thinking, "This is stressful. I can't do what I am used to doing but will take each day as it comes. I am doing the best I can for my work and my family."

Practice Gratitude

Finding gratitude reminds us of what we do have and what is going right.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are you thankful for?
  • What are you thankful for?
  • What did you notice today that made you smile?

Write it down, share it with your loved ones or post it on social media.

March 30, 2020
Drs. Abby Rosenberg & Joyce Yi-Frazier

Drs. Abby Rosenberg & Joyce Yi-Frazier

This research is based on a resilience-building program for young adults with serious illness called PRISM developed and designed by Drs. Abby Rosenberg and Joyce Yi-Frazier at Seattle Children's Hospital. Learn more about this research and follow the PRISM team on Twitter @AbbyRosenbergMD and @pcresilience.

Infographic designed by Artefact.

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