Coronavirus Guide: How to deal with anxiety
Anxiety can be defined as the natural response of the body to stress. Every individual experience this emotion at some point in their life, though unpleasant it can motivate you to perform better during a stressful situation. Ordinary anxiety causes fear and nervousness but doesn't interfere with everyday functioning.
So, experiencing a certain amount of anxiety under pressure is common and healthy.
The problem arises when you start to experience constant anxiety prevailing for a long period. This could prevent you from doing certain activities that you would otherwise enjoy. When this unsettling feeling last for six months or longer then it gives rise to Anxiety Disorder.
It is a mental health disorder that involves feelings of worry and fear that are so strong that they interfere with one's daily life. This is the most common mental disorder affecting more than 5% of the human population. It can be distinguished from regular anxiety by the severity of the emotions experienced, which are out of proportion of the stress trigger.
I am not going to go in-depth with explaining the disease and its various types, as the topic of discussion is self-treatment of anxiety.
If you want to learn more about anxiety disorder and the related symptoms, you can refer to this informative article.
Ways to cope with anxiety
Below you'll find ten activities that you could practice to manage your stress and anxiety. Practising these can help you deal better with everyday anxiety and can prevent it from turning into a disorder.
If you already have anxiety disorder then too these practices can help you along with the professional help.
I know most of you have been feeling anxious due to the pandemic and the lockdown, the tips mentioned below are aimed at making your experience with the situation a little less painful.
This list won't include the obvious practices of Meditating and Breathing cause if you have ever experienced anxiety you already know their importance. If you have a hard time meditating you can refer to my article on how to meditate without meditating.
Here is a list of things you can do to manage your anxiety on the go
This is the most effective way to control your anxiety, as while cuddling oxytocin is released which relieves stress and anxiety. If you are feeling anxious just go an cuddle with your sibling, mom, dad, roommate or whoever you are stuck with or if cuddling seems too much a long hug would work just fine.
This might sound strange to you but there's an entire industry that earns on providing paid cuddle to people, you'll be fascinated if you learn more about cuddle therapy but for now, stick to cuddling the people who are near you instead of paying strangers.
2. Observe your emotions
This works like magic and is one of my go-to technique to reduce anxiety. You need to do nothing when you feel anxious but to sit there and observe your emotions. Think that all your emotions are running in front of you like a movie and all that you've gotta do is watch the movie without judging yourself.
Do it for five minutes whenever you are anxious and if you do it right, you'll be calm and ready to bounce back by the end of the practice.
3. Stand straight
After sitting I want you to stand, might seem silly but we tend to think and stress mostly when we are sitting or lying down. When you stand up your focus shifts to the activity and as most of us rarely stand straight so trying to achieve that will kill a few seconds.
While you are standing straight your body is reminded that it is not in danger and doesn't have to stress anymore. Too easy, right?
I am not going to tell you to talk about what you are feeling, as an immediate response to anxiety shouldn't be giving it more attention.
When you are feeling anxious just start talking to the people who are around or just call someone and talk about something light. Social interaction also releases oxytocin and wollah you have defeated your anxiety.
Kind of a no brainer but stick to talking with people you like.
When you have a lot on your mind it is not ideal to be surrounded by a mess as it amplifies your stress. So, it might be a good idea to do some decluttering and clean your surrounding when you get anxious. You'll notice that your mind stops racing when you are not surrounded by a thousand things.
As soon as you start to get anxious, watch something that makes you tear up. It could be any kind of video and it would be a better idea to save such videos on your phone if you have constant episodes of anxiety. As scrolling through social media won't be the most ideal job to do when you are anxious.
7. Physical Exercise
I cannot stress enough on the importance of physical exercise to control your anxiety. I get stressed out often and whenever that happens I go for a run, maybe this immense about of cardio is the reason that I don't gain weight but it surely works. If running is not for you hitting the gym, playing a sport or any form of exercise will just work fine.
Try to incorporate exercise in your daily routine instead of only doing it when you are anxious and you'll notice that you'll get anxious less often.
8. 3-3-3 Approach
I learned this technique recently and it works like a charm when I am too tired to go for a run. Just look around and say three things you see, then the three sounds you hear and then finally three parts of your body. It slows down your anxious mind running at a speed of 100 km an hour by bringing you back to the present moment.
9. Use lavender
It has been scientifically proven that the fragrance of lavender can help you manage your stress if you are too lazy to try anything in the list just buy lavender essential oil and use it every time you get stressed.
There's no point number 10 but an additional list of things that you can incorporate in your life to reduce the number of anxiety episodes you suffer with.
1. Don't force Self Care
The pampering sessions might seem like an ideal way to reduce anxiety but it makes your anxiety even worse. Self-care has a negative impact on most anxious people but you can use try and error to find out if it works for you.
According to California therapist, Melinda Haynes, “Taking time to administer a healthy dose of self-care can trigger feelings of guilt (I should be working/cleaning/spending more time with my kids), or stir up unresolved feelings related to self-worth (I don’t deserve this or I’m not good enough for this).”
If it works for you continue it but if it doesn't please don't do it for the sake of doing it.
2. Stop Procrastinating:
It might help you in working efficiently but it is not necessarily good for you if you are constantly stressing about getting the work done.
There are two types of procrastinators, the first category involves people who are not bothered about the work until they are close to the deadline and the second category that never stops worrying about it and still chose to procrastinate for Xyz reason.
The point is that if you are from the second category you can't afford to procrastinate, you are not like your friends and you need to finish your work beforehand to reduce the chances of developing anxiety.
3. Stop Planning everything
Unless it's necessary don't plan anything. We tend to get stressed when things don't go according to our expectations and planning only contributes to big expectations. Stop doing it for the sake of your well being.
I am in no way implying that you should not plan work-related stuff or your finances. Making a budget and sticking to it can majorly reduce the chances of getting stuck due to financial strain.
That was the last one on the list.
I hope this article provided you with the tools to deal better with your COVID-19 anxiety.