Understandably, there is a lot of anxiety and concern around at the moment.
“The key to overcome crisis is patience, courage, self-discipline, adaptation and alertness.” ― Amit Ray.
The coronavirus outbreak is rippling across most of the world. The number of infections sadly inches up — and sometimes jumps — each day. Here in the UK we are on lockdown and all around the world, social distancing is being imposed, self-isolation is being enforced and events and gatherings have been cancelled. Here, schools are closed for the foreseeable future and plenty of workplaces, retail outlets, gyms, bars, restaurants and offices are being closed for weeks. The global financial markets are also swinging wildly. You’re likely wondering what lies in the future. You are not alone. I’ve probably not helped a great deal with this opening gambit either, eek!
Feeling anxious? You are not alone
Anxiety and fear are what most of us have right now. The fear of losing your job. The fear of your company falling apart. And above all the fear to be infected by this covid-19 virus. Many people who are in good health survive this disease, but many are not sure if their immune system is compromised or not. Until we have a vaccine and adequate testing, there isn’t a huge amount that we can do except prevention, stay at home, isolate, keep safe, wash our hands regularly andwhen possible focus on things that bring positivity in our disrupted lives and seek out opportunities that might be there for us.
If you are suffering from anxiety, as I’ve already written a couple of times here; know that you are not alone. Anxiety issues are real during these trying times. However, you can mitigate it’s effect on your mental health. You can accomplish some mental calmness and peace of mind when you apply yourself effectively.
According to the Mental Health Foundation in partnership with the Institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge, found that more than one in five adults in the UK had felt panicked and three in 10 had felt afraid because of coronavirus. That is why it is incredibly important to act now and apply yourself accordingly. There are many things you can do, individually and collectively, to tackle and prevent excessive coronavirus anxiety.
Tips for managing anxiety
Regardless of age and health status, you can take specific measures to manage your anxiety. Here are a number of techniques will help you feel more in control and reduce your anxiety levels.
Know the difference between fear and panic
Extreme fear and panic attacks are not rational. Panic has an interesting body/mind cycle that can really fool you. When you have a strong fear the body activates its ‘fight or flight response.’ It’s a built-in mechanism to prepare you to run, hide, or fight a threat. It’s a great system because it pumps the blood into areas needed for this defence, and shuts down systems that aren’t required.
Unfortunately, when the threat is just imaginary we have a hard time explaining the unusual changes in the body and because the threat doesn’t go away we stay in this odd state longer than seems natural. When we don’t understand what is going on, we assume that there must be something really serious going on, and we worry more…which causes the body to react more…and the cycle continues until we reach total panic.
“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” — Arthur Somers Roche
The best method to overcome this is not to fight it. Welcome the panic (as odd and counterintuitive as that may seem) and tell it to hurry up and get over with so you can get back to your life. If you fight fear it will feed it – like some monster in a dream that you try to run away from. Accept it and it will dissipate – what goes up must come down.
Manage your own anxiety
“Trust yourself. You’ve survived a lot, and you’ll survive whatever is coming.” – Robert Tew
There are many credible reasons to be less concerned about your own health – despite worrying statistics, many do recover. The virus will give you flu-like systems and will leave your system in a couple of weeks and you can move forwards with an increased resilience to the virus. Of course, this is not the case for everyone, and we need to be especially vigilant with the elderly, those with pre-existing health conditions and so on. The right precautions can help ease the risk of contracting the virus and with easing your related anxiety.
Acknowledge your anxious feelings. Open up about your anxieties with someone you trust, whether that’s with family, your friends or colleagues. When you acknowledge your anxious feelings, you take an important step toward feeling better.
Try to calm down people around you
People have emotions buried under, talk to your friends and family on a regular basis. Take special care of the elderly. Asking “are you okay” “how can I help” means a lot to them. Just listen and be there.
Set up a videoconference call with your family. You will be able to see each other. Make your parent’s day, plan to call with everyone in your family at the same time. It will be a HUGE uplift for them.
Stop being judgemental
“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.” — Pema Chodron
The mysteries surrounding the Coronavirus and the absence of any medicine or vaccine currently can force us to judge ourselves as helpless and hence fuels anxiety. Awareness and non-judgmental thinking are amongst the most important factors contributing to psychological well-being.
Non-Judgmental thinking is simply acknowledging the circumstances, feelings or sensations without engaging in opinions and evaluation. Social media is full of false opinions and evaluations. On reading them, you become judgmental in some way or the other. Instead, engage yourself in forming your own opinions on and evaluation of the Corona situation. Avoid being judgmental, the anxiety will reduce.
“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” — Benjamin Franklin
Yes, this is hard right now. But most importantly, it is imperative for us to not lose sight of the long-term view right now. Remember it will pass. There may be a new normal on the other side, as with many events that have impacted human life but we humans are amazingly resilient. As Napoleon once said:
‘Leaders are merchants of hope!’
We must be merchants of hope during this time! Spread hope and reduce collective anxiety.
Change your lifestyle
Many people find that small alterations to their lifestyle can help reduce their anxiety, such as introducing some new exercise routines.
Exercise is good on so many levels, mentally and physically.
If you want to start physical exercise, there are some free apps online and lots of fitness experts offering free sessions to join in with and get you started. YouTube Videos are great too because they provide simple advice on how to get started. Yoga and increased mobility exercisesare other good ways to exercise and relax at the same time.
Movement is crucial
“I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.” — Steve Maraboli
Any form of physical activity is very helpful. Whether it be marching up and down stairs or doing bear crawls from one end of the room to the other. Even just getting a pen and paper and having a good scribble can let the stress leave the body. By discharging stress, you will quieten the body and mind.
Try mind sweeps
The concept of mind sweeps originated in the getting things done method of productivity. However, you try mind sweeps to calm your mind too.
Close your eyes and imagine a soft blue light slowing moving inside your head, getting brighter, and spreading, and a cool sensation it releases. Then start taking deep, long breathes. Imagine your worries inside your mind like shells along the shore. The tide comes in and pulls them all out to sea. Imagine the healing effects of water, cleansing away any anxiety or worries. When you open your eyes, imagine that your mind is crystal clear, just like clean water.
Meditate on a daily basis. Learn to relax in any situation with just a simple signal like a deep breath. If you have never practiced meditation, start with a good guided meditation audio program or YouTube video. Here is a good basic meditation and teaches you a signal that allows you to relax anytime and anywhere.
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”― Amit Ray
Use your breath to move stress hormone out of your bloodstream. Breathe through your nose as you count to four, hold seven seconds, exhale through your mouth to count of eight and repeat three times. Go and google to health benefits of the 4-7-8 breathing technique and watch instructional videos on how to do it effectively.
Learn and practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness is quite easy and applicable in many areas of life. With mindfulness, you will learn how to pay close attention to the present moment and see and experience things objectively and clearly. When you practice mindfulness properly, it will dissolve anxiety. However, it can take a great deal of practice, but you’ll be rewarded for your patience if you have a very busy mind distracting you when you start.
Change the narrative, place the adult self in charge by acknowledging that these feelings won’t last forever and hold your vulnerable self with kindness and compassion.
“No amount of anxiety can change the future. No amount of regret can change the past.” – Karen Salmansohn
There’s so much information overflowing from all sorts of sources that create more confusion and anxiety, the coronavirus situation is changing by the minute and people are not focused. Show some empathy. Check that they are in fact OK. If you are adjusting to this new lifestyle, know that it will take some time.
Plan for the future
“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell
Try to plan and adjust your plan based on your income and the “what if’s” that may come as the decease spreads. The biggest cause of fear and anxiety is the feeling that we have lost control of our lives and someone else is making decisions for us that we may not like, or that disrupt our life. The trick is to stay sane when all around you are losing theirs.
Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do; it also lessens anxiety because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, by Davis and colleagues found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy and substantially less anxiety due to lower cortisol levels.
Be present. Be in the moment and express gratitude for whatever we have “now”. It’s a very powerful technique to get the mind to change the state and focus on the positive.
Either limiting or restricting your intake of stimulants such as caffeine, smoking, alcohol, and sugar can help reduce our anxiety levels. Not just that, limiting them can also boost your quality of sleep which may well help in the fight against coronavirus.
Try healthy alternatives such as smoothies or caffeine-free teas, both of which contain relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties that won’t spike your adrenal levels.
Getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet is crucial for just about every other aspect of your health.
Seek professional help
The final tips are to schedule a session or two with a good psychotherapist who can support and guide you and also teach you how to deal with and to overcome anxiety. This can be worth its weight in gold and learning the skills necessary will last all your life.
“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world — not even our troubles.” — Charlie Chaplin
No one can control how the future will unfold, how the coronavirus will play out, how the government will manage, and you certainly can’t magically control your feelings eliminating all the fear and anxiety. What you can do, is control what you do today. How you choose to lead your behaviour. Our inner world is embroiled in an emotional storm, unhelpful thoughts spinning inside your head, demanding you to drop an anchor like ships at sea to hold the boat steady until the storm passes.
Has this piqued your interest in this field? Then have a read of these pages:
1. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studes? Explore the pages of this website.
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
2. Are you a hypnotherapist looking to fulfil your ambitions or advance your career?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar. Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book.