COVID-19 HOW TO MANAGE YOUR STRESS LEVEL?
Updated: Mar 24
At this very moment you might feel anxious or even depressed and it can show in various ways from sadness, tiredness, irritability, to pure anger or a constant feeling of nervousness or a state of panic. But there are some strategies you can easily use to cope.
As you already know, the COVID-19 is not going to disappear for a while. We can't ignore it and it can be a big source of anxiety for many of us but there are many things we can do to manage our stress by learning how to calm down. Here are some techniques that will be useful in this time of uncertainty but not only.
I am calming down then I think and act.
Learning to relax:
This method is based on the neurovegetative nervous system.
Here is a simple explanation of what it is.
When you feel stressed, there is an increase of your sympathetic nervous system and therefore a decrease of your parasympathetic nervous system. For example you might start to feel out of breath and you breathe even faster. In time this might lead to a panic attack. If that last for a long time, this sensation and state of alert or oppression endure and your nervous system gets deregulated with an hyper activity of your sympathetic nervous system and an hypo-activity of the other.
Thankfully it works both ways! So for example if you feel panicky, you have to reduce the amount of oxygen you are taking in and your body will automatically slow down as it has no fuel to function.
I have to stress that this technic needs to be practiced regularly and for a few weeks/months in order to be perfected. It is possible that you might experience contrary effects at first.
In that case I advise you to stop and switch to another technic first (see B) and go back to this "hypoventilation" later on.
Slowing down your breathing will automatically slow down your physiological and psychological state. Your mind stops racing as you calm down physically and emotionally.
1.Empty your lungs without forcing then.
2. Take a bit of air and keep it for a short while.
3. Breathe out slowly.
After a few trials yo will sense a clear calming down effect.
B. Directed attention:
In this exercise focus your mind on an image or an object and gaze it for a few seconds at first.
1. Choose an object or a picture and observe it, taking the time to see all its details. See its form, its colour. If you can't focus stop and try again a bit later.
When you are able to do this you usually start feeling calmer. Practice this for a while in order to get used to it.
2. Now that you are used to focus your mind and describe an image or an object, try to mentally visualise it and this feeling of calmness will start automatically.
You can easily think about something nice and pleasant like a beautiful park, the beach, a mountain or a flower.
Keep the same image in order to create a conditioned reflex. Soon just thinking of the same image will allow you to get instant relaxation. (Notice that this helpful technic is easily applicable anywhere you are and in any situation while under a huge amount of stress and in need of calming fast in order to take decision or respond to someone.)
Note that practicing this hypoventilation and directed attention as well as keeping a healthy diet and meditate daily will profoundly change your state of mind and helps to prevent muscular tension, backache or headache.