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ask a therapistDear Therapist,

Every time I go to the store I feel guilt. I feel guilt because I feel like I’m going to get sick. My anxiety is high and I don’t know how handle it.

Please help!

– D

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Dear D,

I’m sure you are aware of various resources available to help people stay out of stores. If you are unable to use those resources and must go into a store, here is some guidance for you.

Nearly everyone has been experiencing a wide range of feelings and emotions during this time. Many are feeling sad, anxious, scared, and even guilty. For some, this situation has made old feelings come to the surface, and for others, this may be the first time they have had feelings so powerful.

Either way, the first thing I want you to remember is that:

You are not alone.

Photo of grocery store

The feelings you describe are natural and millions of people are wondering the same thing.

When it comes to the anxiety and guilt you mention, it’s important to acknowledge these feelings for what they are: Feelings. We all have them, and no matter how intense, they will pass.

When you notice yourself feeling these emotions, I want you to take a moment, pause, and say to yourself, “I am feeling anxious right now,” or “this makes me feel guilty.” Accepting and acknowledging emotion is important, as it allows us to have greater awareness to make better decisions.

Once you acknowledge the emotions you are experiencing, I want you to take a deep breath, and talk yourself through the emotion as it passes.

Don’t try to push it away.

Allow it to come.

Welcome it.

Talk yourself through it.

Say to yourself “I am feeling anxious/guilty right now. It’s a tough emotion for me, but I am confident I can work through it. I know it will pass.”

Develop A Self-Talk Style

Try to develop your own style of self-talk, much like in the way you would support a close friend or loved one. This type of positive self-talk is important for our mental health. Try this approach next time and see how it makes you feel.

I also want to encourage you to be kind and patient with yourself. We are in an unprecedented time with no manual or playbook on how to best navigate the situation. We will all make mistakes, get too overwhelmed, feel guilt or anxiety, and that’s okay. What’s important is your kindness to yourself.

 

Sincerely,
Ryan, LPC

 

Ryan is a Licensed Professional Counselor practicing in San Antonio, Texas. He earned his undergraduate degree in Sociology and Music from the University of North Texas, and his Masters of Arts in Counseling from the University of Texas at San Antonio. His experience consists of work in community mental health clinics, private practice and non-profit organizations. Ryan works with clients from all backgrounds, and specializes in life transitions, problematic relationship patterns, and mood and anxiety disorders. He enjoys working from a humanistic and insight-based approach.

 

Disclaimer: The contents of the Jewish Family Service of San Antonio blog are for general use or informational purposed only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The use of any information contained on this site is solely at your own risk. If you would like to speak in detail with a licensed therapist, please email referrals@jfs-sa.org.

If you have a medical emergency, please call 911 or your doctor right away.