It is all a mentality- focus on positives than negatives during the pandemic.
It is easy to feel anxious when you are given a constant stream of negative news on the novel coronavirus. Ideally, anxiety is an understandable reaction, as covid19 has added several changes to our daily life. It has also threatened our safety sense.
It can be quite challenging to let go of these negative thoughts and feelings. But you should know that nothing is impossible in this world, and you should try till you succeed. You have to try to use anxiety to develop habits that can protect your mental health.
The best part about our brain is that it has the capacity and ability to rewire and change in response to our experiences. This capacity is ideally known as neural plasticity. We are establishing neural connections if we have recurrent and anxious thoughts. Basically, these neural connections make anxious thinking easier for us in the future.
It is challenging to stay positive and optimistic during the crisis hour, but it is essential for both the immune system and mental health. The hindrances caused by the coronavirus pandemic have made life challenging even for individuals having the sunniest outlook on life.
It would be best if you had constant efforts and conscious mindfulness to remain optimistic during the social distancing times, loss of income, uncertainty, and gripping fear. Several studies have proven that there is a strong connection between optimism and overall health. The study’s skeptics have even argued that someone’s good health makes them positive, and optimism doesn’t lead to good health.
Regardless of these arguments, you just need to focus on the fact the optimistic people are happier as compared to pessimistic people. Above all, happiness significantly impacts your health and mood. In today’s pandemic, being vigilant of our attitudes should be a top priority for all. You can remain calm and constructive during the uncertain times as it can help you navigate through difficulties.
Additionally, we can use anxious thoughts as triggers for engaging in different tasks and ideas that help manage and minimize anxiety. By doing such things, we can convert pressure into one of the primary building blocks of habits that support our health and wellbeing during challenging times. So when you notice anxious thoughts haunting your head the next time, or you feel your shoulders rising due to stress, you need to try some activities mentioned below to change it into optimistic thoughts.
- Practice self-care- The simplest thing you can do is just take three slow deep breaths to calm down when you feel anxious or overwhelmed. You need to count slowly to four as you breathe in and then gradually count to five as you breathe out. By doing this simple exercise helps enhance activation in the parasympathetic nervous system that is associated with digesting and resting. It also minimizes sympathetic nervous activity, which is responsible for our flight response or fights, and it is related to anxiety. If you want to improve mental health and reduce stress, then you should listen to your favorite upbeat song or do some exercise at home.
- Do something relaxing- You need to try and do some things that are relaxing and uplifting after waking up and just before you go to sleep. The first thing you do in the morning sets your mood for the day. If you notice having anxious thoughts soon after getting up in the morning, then you need to think about something positive if you can or do some mindful stretches and focus on the body’s sensations. At the end of the day, try to avoid reading comments or news on social media about the rapid spreading of the virus. Some pessimistic emotions can prevent sound sleep in the evening. Instead, you should end your day by listening to calming music, practicing relaxation techniques, and meditate before sleeping as it might help you calm your anxiety before bed.
- Don’t ignore the little things- The little things matter a lot, so when you read the latest updates on covid19 and plan the better changes at work, childcare, or travel plans, it can stream a lot of stressful or anxious thoughts in your brain. Try to listen to the things around you when you notice the worry building around you. You can see the little flowers, listen to the sound of the birds outside, or admire the clouds in the sky. The simple mindfulness will give you a break from the hustle-bustle of life and also minimize the activity in the midline structures of the prefrontal cortex of the brain involved in anxious thinking. By doing this, you can find that you are feeling less nervous or anxious.
- Think positive and Try helping others- Many people react with hoarding behaviors when it comes to anxiety. It is often reflected in stockpiling the groceries and panic buying in response to the ongoing pandemic. Some people deal with stress with compassion by doing some social deeds like helping or sharing. Prosocial behavior mainly protects our wellbeing. Whenever you feel anxious, you should think about doing something positive, and it can include anything like dropping an email to your friend or a colleague and asking them questions like how they are doing and all. Additionally, you can call your older relatives and talk to them for 10 minutes. There are several ways of helping others, even when you aren’t able to go out.
- Put things into perspective- Often, our mind is loaded with negative thoughts, and we get into a habit of remembering adverse events more as compared to festive occasions. This habit is perfect as per the evolutionary perspective when we should remember not to eat certain foods that we are allergic to. It also indicates that we end up remembering negative news over positive ones. After knowing this, when you feel anxious, you have to make efforts to overcome the negative bias. It indicates changing your perspective and trying to remind yourself of some positive things that took place in challenging times like reduction in pollution level. As per recent research, it can be said that an increase in hope leads to a decrease in anxiety.
- Pray or meditate- As per recent research, it can be concluded that people who are spiritual and ritual have been associated with better wellbeing, mostly because they have a sense of belief and meaning in life. You can protect yourself against anxiety if you have a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Furthermore, you can use these feelings as a reminder to say a short prayer or meditate. When you regularly meditate, you can reduce the anxiety levels.
- Practice gratitude- Even during the tough times, you should be grateful. You can either maintain a gratefulness journal or do a quick morning grateful meditation. Also, it would be best if you noticed both small and big things that you can be thankful for. Some of the essential items can include your health, home, friends, family, and having food on your table. Small things can consist of having little joys like sipping warm coffee, a good book, or a nice bath. It would be best if you assured that you add as much detail into gratefulness as possible.
- Slow down- You shouldn’t rush into anything or make a judgment about anything you hear about at first glance. You need to understand that there is no need to hurry at all. The best part about social distancing is that you have the ability to pace yourself and let go of some usual anxieties. You should pay attention to increase your awareness by practicing mindfulness continuously. To achieve mindfulness, you should remain present as much as possible. You have to focus on some details around you like the scent and sounds. If you want to hear your inner voice, then you need to lower the volume of your thoughts.
- Exercise- Though exercising is a part of the routine for the majority of the people, but it should be more now. If you are an active person who used to go to the gym regularly, you can make adjustments and try keeping up the exercising routine at home. If you aren’t into any exercise, then you should try and indulge in activities like yoga. Besides physical benefits, exercising also helps in releasing endorphins in your body that triggers positivity. Thus you should ensure that you add some physical activity in your routine.
- Nurture your digital community- Social distancing doesn’t mean that you cannot be connected with your friends or family. Thanks to the majority of the digital advancement of the people today are connected with each other through video calls and group chats. You can connect with your friends and check with them if you haven’t heard from them for a long time. It will help you indulge in some lively conversations.
Thus different activities work differently for other people. If you feel anxious anytime, you need to make a list of activities that can help you calm down. All you need to do is believe in yourself and your capacity to love.