Stay Calm During COVID-19
The global pandemic of the coronavirus has heightened fears and anxiety in people, families and communities. From time to time, whether the attack on 9/11, a natural disaster, or medical crises, the human response is often panic. Whether the perceived mushroom cloud is personal or global, we need to develop skills and practices to get us through these most difficult situations, while maintaining calm and clear perspective for ourselves, our families and communities.
Instead of staying calm, we are in reactive mode. We know that reactivity, instead of a thoughtful response, feeds chaos and causes havoc. The minute by minute narratives from media outlets are riveting, however, often causing an “oh no…” scenario in our minds. The Unknown can be a significant trigger to increase restlessness in our minds. This restlessness can affect each of us physically such as increasing our stress hormones of Cortisol, Adrenaline and Norepinephrine, flaring up any gastrointestinal issues and do damage to any pre-existing physical illnesses. The ultimate fear is death. Just like the person with obsessive-compulsive disorder, they are not washing their hands incessantly due to dirt or needing to be clean, they are washing their hands due to their fear of death. Their minds take them from catching a germ, then getting sick, then dying! Now, I’m not suggesting anyone should abandon hand washing during this pandemic, but I am suggesting that we practice staying calm and watch our thoughts while we are taking such recommended precautions.
Tips for Staying Calm and Reducing Stress
Some of the known practices that are proven to reduce restlessness and stress levels are: mindfulness breathing, yoga, aerobic exercise, prayer and avoiding known stress-filled environments and activities, such as media trolling. In addition, taking the necessary precautions such as avoiding large populated events, taking the requisite hygiene precautions and putting into place a calmness protocol for yourself. Even if you were to contract the virus, being in a calm mind state would most likely be helpful in fighting the virus. One thing to remember, through all the ups and downs of life is – You are OK!
Ask for Help
It’s never been more important to practice staying calm. If you find your stress levels are becoming too extreme, please reach out to a qualified mental health professional. There are many clinicians in our society who are trained to assist you in these difficult times. If you, or a loved one has an addiction issue, please contact us at our website at www.providencetreatment.com.
William J. Heran, Ph.D., LCSW, SAP CEO/Co-Founder Providence Treatment Philadelphia, PA