How To Manage Your Anxiety When People Around You Have Stopped Wearing Masks

Photo: getty
woman wearing a mask

Whether you're just slightly worried about people around you not wearing masks or experiencing extreme anxiety about it, the answer is within you.

Wouldn’t you agree that going out wearing the right mask is more effective than worrying about who around you is wearing or not wearing it?

"It’s a new world we are living in" is an indisputable statement.

The year is 2021, not 2019.

Change is the only constant in life. The world has changed, and so have you. The way you think and the way you feel have both changed.

Your thoughts and emotions are an integral part of you. So, when you look for the way the world used to be in 2019, it’s a quest that will bring up thoughts and emotions depending on where you are in your life but the calendar will not revert.

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Living one day at a time and managing your anxiety. 

So, my dear friend, to live without anxiety is possible when you learn to live one day at a time, one interaction at a time.

I agree that it is an ideal way of living. And yet, it is possible — when you choose to do it. It’s a mindset.

As a Reiki Master, I start my day with many rituals, one of which is declaring, "Just for today, I shall not worry."

It has worked for the past two decades for me and I promise you that it will work for you, too.

If in the middle of the day you find yourself worrying, remember your promise to yourself from the morning, then smile, inhale, and exhale.

Your smiling breath reassures you that you are forgiven, you are loved, you are safe.

Remember that time is linear.

Over the years, I have had many tell me about how they wish life was the way it used to be.

Time is linear, it only progresses.

In elementary school, a teacher of mine would say, "Time is like a unicorn with its horn stuck to its front. If you must master time, you have to anticipate it and prepare yourself for it. There’s no way another way out."

Worries are a drain of energy, so focus on what you can do about staying healthier and happier. You cannot get angry at an angry person and expect to feel better afterward, can you?

Similarly, you cannot worry about if the person next to you is sick or healthy and expect to stay healthy.

Wisdom lies in knowing yourself and acting in a way that is beneficial to you.

I used to wear cloth masks. I have to wear glasses. The cloth masks make me breathe easier than an N95. So, I would wear a cloth mask to keep me from breathing, but then my glasses get foggy.

I started walking with a cloth mask and I found I could smell all that’s in the air — whether it is fried food, smoke, cleaning agents, or anything foul.

I realized the cloth masks were not protecting me. They were helping others from my exhalation, my cough, or sneeze. I decided to switch to the masks with filters and the nose clip on top.

Sure, breathing is mildly inconvenient, but I stay warm on my walks and the best part is I do not need to consume antihistamine. One less chemical in my body is a happier body.

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Learn from observing.

I have traveled internationally for the past 30 years. I met people from Japan 40 years ago in India. They never left their room without a mask, even small children.

I used to scoff at their practice and call it arrogant. Now, I know how wise they were in their decision as a nation to wear masks when no one else would.

So, again, my dear friend, wear a breathable mask with filters on it and know that you are safe.

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If you are as old as me, you might remember a time when we wondered who filters water, who buys water. Water is free.

I visited Las Vegas and saw oxygen bars for the first time and thought it was a "Vegas thing." Now I know the Japanese and the business owners in Las Vegas were trendsetters.

Wearing a mask is a small sacrifice.

With everything human has done to the planet by taking the Earth, water, and air for granted, now most urban dwellers pay for water.

For quite a few years now, in many cities like Delhi and Beijing, even locals find it hard to breathe without a mask. The final frontier is the Earth itself — we need to stop encroaching on wildland and plant more trees where we live.

Just like you carry your water bottle with you when you leave home, carry a mask to and use it. It’s easier to wear a mask than worry about the next guy without a mask.

We can make the world a better place but for now, let’s take care of ourselves. I need you to be there for you and your loved ones.

A story from the Jatakas...

Once an acrobat told his student who was standing on his shoulders, "You take care of me and I will take care of you."

The student replied, "No, teacher, you take care of yourself and I will take care of myself. Only when I take care of myself, I can be there for you. Similarly, only when you take care of yourself, you can take care of me."

Wear the right mask when you are out there in the world and you will be fine. There will be nothing to worry about.

Be the example for your loved ones and together you and your loved ones can go about in the world without worrying about the people walking around with a mask.

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Keya Murthy, M.S. is an accredited hypnotherapist and a spiritual life coach. Her mission, promise, and blessing to each of her clients are to help them heal, find their confidence and feel successful in life. You may coaching@coachkeya.com or visit her website.