COVID-19 – Managing and Reducing Stress / Anxiety
Have you found you’re experiencing more stress and tension during this isolation period? We would like to offer you some easy to use methods in order to decrease stress and anxiety.
Muscle tension exercises can be useful.
You may have been shown how to do these in grade school. They’re not only helpful in reducing tension in the moment, but they help your brain to become more alert to when tension begins to build in your body. With sufficient, regular practice, you can catch tension building and take steps to reduce it before your muscles become so tight that you end up with a headache.
Breathing exercises can help to reduce anxiety.
Have you noticed that when you’re anxious, or afraid, your breathing becomes more rapid and shallow? Your mind associates this shallow breathing with fear and panic. What happens when you’re relaxed? Your breathing is deep and slower. Deep breathing signals peace and relaxation to the brain. In terms of fear and panic versus peacefulness and relaxation, your brain can’t be in both states at the same time. So, if you’re becoming anxious, and you make yourself take deep breaths – deep enough that, if a book was resting on your stomach you would see it rise and fall – you ‘trick’ your brain into feeling relaxed. This makes it send signals to lower your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, lower your adrenaline response and leads to a more peaceful state of mind.
If you practice these exercises preventatively, in other words, don’t wait until you’re in the middle of full blown anxiety before you try to use them, they can inoculate you against stress and anxiety. They should help you, along with other good self-care practices, to weather the storm of this pandemic.
If you would like to meet in-person or through telehealth, we are here for you!