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Switch up your pandemic self-talk

A woman looks thoughtfully at the camera.

March 4, 2021—We've been coping with this pandemic for a long time now. So it's understandable if you're feeling down, impatient or angry.

But hope is on the horizon. For example, it's amazing to think we now have three effective vaccines helping to protect people. And we're learning more about the virus every day.

That's an example of positive self-talk. It's a way to break out of a cycle of negative thoughts. It's OK to acknowledge painful, frustrating or sad feelings. But getting stuck there can make it harder to cope, according to the National Center for PTSD. Instead, when you have negative thoughts or feelings, practice reframing them into positive ones.

Here are a few more examples:

If you think this: I worry about how dangerous this world can be.

Try this: The world can be a dangerous place. But there are plenty of things I can do to protect myself. And most of the time I am safe.

If you think this: Having to wear a mask makes me angry.

Try this: We won't have to wear masks forever. When I put it on, I'm showing how much I care about other people's safety.

If you think this: I'm afraid all the time of getting COVID-19.

Try this: I am doing the best I can to keep myself and my family safe.

If you think this: I feel like things will never be the same again, and that makes me sad.

Try this: This won't last forever. Some things may be different, but I can learn and grow from change.

If you think this: I feel like everything is out of control.

Try this: More things are under my control than are not. I'll focus on those instead of what I can't change.

If you think this: I am not coping with this as well as I should be.

Try this: Most people are struggling to cope right now. I'm doing the best that I can.

If you think this: I feel guilty about my choices.

Try this: Everybody makes mistakes. I feel bad about it because I care. I can learn from this and do better from now on.

If you think this: All of this is unfair, and I want to blame someone.

Try this: Life is often unfair. But I need to put my energy into making things better for myself and my family right now.

It's OK to reach out for help

If you're struggling to cope with your feelings, you might benefit from talking with a counselor or therapist. We all need help sometimes.

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