The new COVID-19 existence thrust upon humanity might feel like a screenplay storyline we never imagined happening in real life, but it is here, and it is very real. With this new reality featuring so many unknowns, it’s important to balance the overflow of information threatening our physical health with positive strategies on how to mentally cope with all of it.
Produced remotely by a dynamic team at Serious Fun Productions, LLC, Panic, Anxiety + COVID-19: Strategies to Help you Handle It will air in all YurView markets on Wednesday, April 15th at 8pm. Directed by Ken Yagoda, and edited by 3 time Emmy winners Eric Pula and TJ Czupryna, the show features tips from anxiety experts Brian Beneduce and Kimberly Bisset, Ed.D.
“Most of the strategies in this show are about how to keep yourself in a positive mindset and how to stay in a positive state of mind,” said Tricia Bradley, Founder and Director of Development at Serious Fun Productions, LLC.
The show aims to guide viewers in navigating new Coronavirus norms by providing coping advice from Beneduce, an everyman who became successful in business while overcoming crippling anxiety, and Bisset, an educated professional with Masters and Doctorate degrees in Educational Psychology from Boston College and University of Amherst, respectively.
“I suffered with anxiety and panic attacks my whole life,” Beneduce said. “I became very successful in business all while dealing with this beast.” The beast Beneduce references is the debilitating anxiety that once left him petrified to leave the house or crying at the wheel of his car before entering a sales meeting in New York City.
It’s been twenty years since the inspirational speaker has fallen to panic or anxiety, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t constantly outsmarting himself by harnessing emotional tools that keep him focused and mentally fit.
“I’m a fix-it kind of guy,” Beneduce said while describing the emotional toolbox he created to help himself counter his own anxiety. “The tools are very simple and I’m using them now to cope with this COVID-19.”
Once terrified of speaking in public, Beneduce now gives motivational speeches to audiences hoping his own personal stories can become someone else’s inspiration to overcome fear and anxiety. His most recent book, Anxiety Warrior: A Scared Man’s Path to Success and Happiness, discusses his personal battle with agoraphobia and his profound ability to overcome challenges caused by it.
He acknowledges that people unfamiliar with anxiety or panic attacks may be struggling with their own kind of pandemic “beast.”
“I want people to hear my story and hopefully be inspired by it,” Beneduce said. “If they are having a tough time, maybe one or two of the tools that I discuss will help them get through it.”
It’s only natural that what used to be a simple trip to the supermarket is now bound to contaminate even the most optimistic minds with anxiety and fear. It’s okay to be anxious and worried, and that trepidation is necessary because this is a situation that needs to be taken seriously. Except, with this new reality, it’s ever important to not let our fears turn to pure panic.
“It’s okay to not be okay,” child anxiety expert Kim Bisset said. “It’s okay for things to not be like they were and to find your new rules and to know that some days are not going to be smooth – they are going to be a struggle.”
Makeshift masks may be hiding our faces and hand sanitizer is stripping the moisture out of our hands. Yes, our heads are likely spinning with all of this chaos, but our livelihood doesn’t have to shut down in order to follow safe, social distancing guidelines.
“This is real and I’m not going to try to belittle it,” Beneduce said. “It’s real and we are going to get through it.”
“We can get through this, and there are positive things we can do,” Bisset said. “Any little action you can take either to help your own well-being or someone else’s may help you feel better.”Bisset teaches a course that discusses “core gifts,” a strategy that helps people identify their own positive strengths and talents to then contribute those gifts to the community.“Kim gives strategies for children and young adults, and her strategies are very specific.” Bradley said.
Both Beneduce and Bisset suggest limiting the intake of news surrounding COVID-19. Staying informed is one thing, but inundating oneself with negative thoughts or images is a trigger for panic.
“This is going to end someday,” Bradley said. “What are the lessons we think we are learning? What is the good that comes out of the bad?”
It’s worth mentioning that there are good things happening. There are survivors. There are companies working around the clock to create masks. There are schools providing free lunches to children quarantined at home. And there are people working on a vaccine.
“I always look for the good,” Bradley said. “That’s part of who I am as a person. I always look for the good.”
“It’s not just us, it’s every country, every continent,” Beneduce said. “We’re all going through this, and we’re all connected.”
Staying connected is helpful, too. We may be in quarantine, but we are not alone. Giving a friend or family member a call, writing them a letter or engaging in video chats online are all positive ways to connect.
“It’s not just you,” Bisset said while validating feelings of confusion and anxiousness among young people especially. If anyone is wondering why they might not be handling a situation like this better, or questioning feelings about why they are struggling – it’s important to know that they are in good company.
“Give yourself permission to feel the anxiety,” Bisset said. “The more we talk about it – the better people will feel.”
The truth is that we are all kind of fumbling around here – tune into Panic, Anxiety + COVID-19: Strategies to Help you Handle It – Wednesday, April 15th at 8:00 PM on YurView, for a breath of fresh air and a little guidance on how to cope. The show replays Sunday at 4:00 PM, Wednesday at 8:00 PM &Thursday at 10:30 PM. Check local listings for channel information in your area.