7 GOLDEN RULES THAT WILL SAVE YOU FROM COVID-19 ANXIETY
Have you ever wondered why anxiety is limiting us?
When we are experiencing fear, we are switching to survival mode, and our multi-million-year-old brain (who is sophistically designed for our survival), is mainly focusing on what’s going wrong. Haven’t you noticed how fear is brilliant in painting everything in black?
In the deep jungle, where you might face dozens of obstacles threatening your life, this is perfect. In the everyday life, it can become a nightmare.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this outbreak has made it worst, the most anxious among us have seen their life becoming extremely critical, and others who were actually feeling pretty fine noticed quite a change in their mood.
In order to keep sane what’s left in us, here are some precious rules to preserve us from the anxious path:
1 - Train your brain how to feel, and not the opposite!
It takes 10 minutes a day, each morning, don’t tell me you don’t have them!
4 minutes of deep breathing
4 minutes of gratitude
2 minutes for projection
Breathing: Sit straight and comfortably. Your eyelids are gently closed. Breathe deeply, calmly, and focus on every single part of your body, going from top to bottom. Feel how each cell and each muscle is waking up as you profoundly fill them with air.
Gratitude will effectively and chemically destroy the two worst enemies you have: fear and anger.
They both narrow your vision, and they clearly knock down your strength.
You are going to use visualisation, which is an extremely powerful tool in therapy.
Remain seated with closed eyes, and start picturing people you love in your mind. One by one, imagine them healthy, overjoyed, peaceful, and while you’re still breathing, be thankful for them to be alive.
Now think about 3 magnificent aspects of your life, it could be living with someone you love, have a healthy family, being passionate about your job or a project, anything that makes you happy.
It won’t take long before you start feeling better and for one good reason: Gratitude is often called the “natural antidepressant”, it enhances dopamine and serotonin - the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for happiness, created for you, and by your own body.
Projection: During the last 2 minutes of the exercise, I want you to focus on 2 or 3 of your goals, and actively visualise them as successfully achieved.
Concentrate on your feelings. The joy that arises from those successes, the congratulations, every detail you could possibly imagine, and let the sensation spread in your body. That is an extremely important step.
What will happen? The feeling perceived is going to give you the momentum you need to achieve what you want.
The mental effect will infuse and bear fruit throughout the day.
Why doing this last part?
This is exactly when you are going to take control of your brain. Did you know that this brilliant three pound organ does not make the difference between something you imagine or something you clearly experience?
If you project in your mind a fearful experience, it won’t take long for the stress hormones to be produced. If you imagine an aggressive barking dog or if you are physically in front of it, the chemical response is the same.
When driving your car, do you turn the front wheels to the danger, or towards where you want to go? So goes the mental control.
If I visualise success & strength -> I train my brain to actively work for them.
If I visualise setbacks & issues -> Exactly the same!
Through positive visualisation, your mind will activate itself to achieve great actions, just make sure your energy is facing a great future.
Remember, that’s ok if it’s not perfect the first days, the most important is to continue your mind’s training.
Keep on with it, this morning routine is the most exquisite food you could give to your mind and soul.
And how much does it cost? Zero!
2 - Reach out for connection!
Continue to connect with people you love, and why not connecting with people you do not already know, through a passion, training, something you could share?
Remember, presence is not a physical matter.
Who doesn't love a benevolent and caring physical attention from a person we cherish? The brain craves for that, but emotional presence goes beyond the physical sensation itself.
Think about how many times in your life, during a dinner or party, you were having a conversation with someone, and what she or he was saying had NO IMPACT AL ALL, although that person was seated right next to you.
On the other hand, who didn’t have at least one phone call in his life, who was so intense, so beautiful, that emotions at that particular moment still feel so fresh to the memory?
Conclusion: Presence is an emotional process, you can still create an extraordinary bond with your loved ones, even if you are not sharing the same space.
If something is bothering you, share it, don’t be proud, there is no shame to call for help, but once you feel better, lift up someone’s mood in return, give back that great energy, it will spread around, and be more contagious than Covid-19 itself!
3 - Support & help others
This is a chance for you to experience the greatest feeling of all, which is to make this world a better place. Whether that help may seem to you extraordinary or insignificant, it will have positive repercussions.
Every kind of support is precious. Anyone could use some advice, a good recipe, a kind ear to talk to, some help with groceries, children, etc. …
If you enjoy being part of a team, find a community group that inspires you.
Even once or twice a day, the personal reward you get from helping others will make you stronger, so run for it!
4 - Look after your body
Here are common symptoms that can be seen during an infectious disease outbreak:
Fear regarding health outcomes for ourself and loved ones.
Difficulty concentrating and sleeping disorders.
Worsening of mental health conditions and/or health conditions.
Increase in substance taking.
Changes in eating or sleep patterns.
Anyone facing anxiety, especially during lockdown and restrictions, could lose motivation to take care of its own body. When your mind is trapped in stress or depression, physical efforts are not welcomed. Food or alcohol orgies are known to be an attempt to calm deeper feelings, and most of us are tempted to run faster towards the Netflix/Sofa/Popcorn concept than anywhere else.
Most parents looking after their children are often exhausted, and find it challenging to take the time to exercise (or even rest)! They obviously give so much to others, that they hardly find the resources to give to themselves.
The problem is that we enter in the vicious circle again, “the less I take care of myself, the less I love and respect myself, so the less I want to take care of it, etc.”
Now I am going to ask you to look at your body as a partner instead of a burden, and I am asking it to myself too. What you need is to clearly identify what you could objectively ask yourself every day, and stick to it. This is no more than a sacred contract.
For some, it could be a walk or cold shower in the morning for blood circulation, for others, creating a simple tasty and healthy meal plan, or exercise 30/40 minutes a day. I don’t mind how long and how much, the goal is to raise your standards a little bit more, day after day, and to respect your contract.
Remember, the reward will be colossal, not to mention you might inspire others around you.
5 - Stick to the facts
Find a credible and reliable source of information (such as NHS), to read the last updates regarding Covid-19. Informing yourself is good, do it with the right source is even better.
The information you will find elsewhere, no matter how relevant they seem, might report inaccuracies that could lead you to the wrong understanding, and therefore panic. Remember that most of the informative medias are earning money to surprise you in order to keep you connected to them, not to inform you properly.
A daily check about the outbreak is enough, you might want to consider limiting the time you spend on Covid-19 updates. Finding some other readings or ways to improve your knowledge on different subjects will be far more fulfilling and enjoyable!
6 - A beautiful home is good for Mental Health
Derby E. Saxbe and Rena Repetti from the University of California have in their study come to this exciting conclusion: “The way people describe their home may reflect whether the time they spend in it feels restorative or stressful.”
Cortisol is a hormone produced in your body in order to help you de-stress. Problem is, that arriving in a home or office that is messy, will interfere with that production. It can be explained by the fact that people will tend to think that they have to clean-up, which will automatically produce stress and discomfort.
Think about how challenging it becomes when you are supposed to work from home, where laundry, dishes, utility bills, and dust are stacking endlessly! Monumental Cortisol Collapse.
Keep your house and workspace as tidy and harmonious as possible, it will bring a sense of satisfaction, and morale-boosting.
7 - What about your dream?
This new study from the British Psychological Society is huge, statistics show that you are most likely to suffer from not achieving your personal dreams, than having regrets about what you have done to please others.
In other words, doing what people expect you to do, will at the end of your life, giving you much less sense of fulfilment than listening to what your profound self is asking.
We all have an “Ideal Self” and an “Ought Self”, the first one is focused on achieving our goals, dreams and ambitions, the second is about meeting the norms, the rules, and what we think society expects from us.
“A person focused on her ideal self is more likely to lose sleep over her “wouldas” and “couldas” than her “shouldas”.
Pay attention to this inner self, there is a dream that you need to take care of. Does that mean you have to sell your house and car and disappear tomorrow morning to Fiji’s?
Take your time, think about it, be smart and strategic, there is a way to realise, step by step what this voice is asking you.
Your neighbour and uncle criticise your choice?
Thank them for their love and keep on sailing!
Why? They will not live your life for you.
A travel? A professional project? A talent that needs to express itself? A therapy for a fresh start?
It is your personal gift for the future.
Stay safe, and concentrated on this fabulousness of yours.