“It's a very normal reaction to be fearful or concerned…[but] you don't want to fan the flame of that fear. So what are the steps that you can take, knowing yourself?” she asked.
In general, Lynch said, people can benefit from breathing techniques, which help equalize the body and reduce anxiety.
“Breathing is one of the best self-calming tools we can have. You know, just relaxing and creating a habit twice a day to just take some deep breaths, close our eyes, hold our breath and exhale... You [may] pray a Hail Mary while you're holding your breath and then you calmly exhale.”
Lynch said there are also plenty of spiritual practices to help Catholics handle anxiety.
Lynch suggested Catholics look up the devotional practices recommended by their local diocese. Even if churches have canceled their Masses, she said, Catholics can also watch the Mass on channels like EWTN, or online, she said.
“We're so blessed to have our faith, the Catholic faith because we have so many tools from a spiritual perspective. I think this is a great opportunity because we're so busy in our daily life that we can use this to actually develop some spiritual habits, and incorporate them in this attempt to reduce her anxiety.”
“Maybe develop a habit of just spending five to 15 minutes every morning when you first get up. Maybe get up a little bit earlier and just pray, whether it's silent … read[ing]scripture ... or pray[ing] a decade of the rosary,” she said.
Lynch urged people monitor their intake of media, especially news sources that have politicized the virus or promoted fear.
“Some of the things that we know we can do to counteract fear is limit your media coverage from sources that want to instill fear. Like, those that politicized the virus or those that only focus on the bad stuff that's happening with the virus or what could happen rather than the facts,” Lynch advised.
She acknowledged that the virus is likely to spread and there is a chance that many people will be impacted. She emphasized the value of taking practical steps in being prepared for self-quarantine.
And Lynch encouraged Catholics to see the spiritual opportunity in the weeks ahead.
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“We're so used to being in control. This is a great opportunity to know that God's in control and to just give him more control and pray a prayer of trust to God every day.”