This blog post is part of a series of #WellnessWednesday tips. This week, the Landon wellness team shares four strategies to manage stress and anxiety in these uncertain times.
Stress and anxiety are normal emotions that we all experience at varying levels in our life, but because of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on our nation and economy, you may be noticing an increase in such emotions.
1. Name it to tame it
Stress is a response to a recognized threat that is taking place in the here and now. Anxiety is a response to something you are concerned with that might happen in the future and there may or may not be evidence to support this concern. We always tell our students the first step to dealing with stress and anxiety is to acknowledge that we are feeling it. If we suppress our emotions, we may stop them in the short term, but they are likely to come out in unhealthy ways when we least expect it. Label when stress or anxiety are present and develop the ability to reflect and assess the intensity of such emotions.
2. Take a break and a breath
When our emotions takes control of us, our limbic region (emotional part of the brain) is overstimulated, which is why our feelings “feel” so strong. We are likely to have more irrational thoughts related to anxiety in such moments. By taking a minute or two, or longer, we are giving our brain more time to get back to its normal state. Listen to a relaxing song, pay attention to your breath for a few minutes, or play a relaxing game. Ask yourself how you feel and if the intensity of the feeling has changed. You are likely to notice a shift toward a calmer state after a few attempts.
3. Let the cloud of emotions go by
Remember that feelings come and go, they are temporary states, not emotions that will last a lifetime. Just as the temperature changes throughout the day, so do our emotions. As well our anxious thoughts can lead us down a long road and cause us to worry more than we need to. Remember that thoughts are thoughts and nothing more. The more we engage them the bigger they grow in our mind.
4. Have a healthy mind platter
Just as your body needs a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins, so does your mind, but in a different way. Dr. Daniel Siegel, executive director of the Mind Institute, developed the healthy mind platter to help us optimize our brain and mental well-being. Look here to see if you are incorporating a healthy mind platter into your life, and which activities you can add to improve your well-being.
If you would like to learn more about anxiety and stress and how to manage it, you can take a look at the links below.