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Seven Tips for Dealing with Anxiety and Stress during Pandemic Times

If the double burden of pandemic stress plus electoral stress overwhelms you, try these tips to help you cope.

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Can’t you focus? You do not sleep well? Are your emotions overwhelming you?

Last week, in a very stressful year, it seemed that the United States was reaching the peak of collective anxiety. People commented that they were eating out of stress, that they canceled their appointments (who was going to attend a Zoom meeting at a time like this?) And many threatened not to get out of bed.

The tension has engulfed both sides of the political spectrum. A poll published by the American Psychological Association found that 76 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of Republicans thought this 2020 election was a major source of stress.

“Since the beginning of March, we have seen an ongoing dynamic of a flood of things going wrong,” said Angel Kyodo Williams, meditation teacher and author of the book Radical Dharma . “In reality,

Although there is very little that can be done to accelerate the final resolution of the elections or the coronavirus vaccine , we do have the power to take care of ourselves. Neuroscientists, psychologists, and meditation experts gave us some advice on the small and large things we can do to calm ourselves. These are some that we can stick to to deal with what is coming and that we can try to follow to release anxiety and gain perspective.

Pause

When you feel your anxiety level rising, try to “pause.” Go out to walk. Call a friend. Go run an errand. Just activate the body and focus on your breathing.

“Pause so you can change your context,” Williams said. “Focus your attention on something else. Focus on something nice. Get up. Move your body and change position. I think people really have to get away from where they are and break inertia. “

Focus on the feet

When you feel your tension level rise, try this quick quiet exercise that was designed by Judson A.

Take a moment to focus on your feet. You can do it standing or sitting, with your feet on the ground. How do you feel? Are they hot or cold? Is there a tingling? Are they wet or dry? Move your fingers. Feel the soles of your feet. Feel the heels stick to the shoes and feel the ground below you.

“It’s a different way of anchoring ourselves,” Brewer said. “Anxiety tends to settle in the chest and throat. Your feet are the furthest thing from the anxiety zones ”.

Get active for three minutes

Only a brief discharge exercise -three minutes is needed, exactly- to improve your mood, Kelly McGonigal, health psychologist and professor at Stanford University whose most recent book is pointed out The Joy of Movement (the pleasure of moving ). Jump. Stand up and box. Do push-ups on the wall. Dance

Who suggests choosing an inspirational song to get you moving? “Every time you move your muscles and increase your heart rate, you will get a boost of dopamine and you will feel alive and engaged. For me, movement is a way to feel my own strength and to feel connected with hope and joy ”.

Dedicate yourself to a home project

Ditch the clutter, create a scrapbook, get a new quilt, and locate artwork.

“It’s nothing frivolous to do things like order, organize, or look at your space to figure out how to make it a place that comforts you or whoever lives with you,” said McGonigal, whose TED lecture on stress has been viewed by more than 25 million times. “Anything you do in which you take an action that allows you to connect, whether consciously or not, with this idea that there is a future that you are heading towards, it is like an intervention of hope. It is something you are doing to take care of your future ”.

Try to practice ‘five finger’ breathing

This simple practice is easy to remember and is often taught to children to help them calm down in times of stress. Brewer has made a video explaining the technique, which works by engaging multiple senses at the same time and drives away distressing thoughts.

Step 1. Place one hand in front of you with your fingers spread apart.

Step 2. With the index finger of the other hand, begin to follow the contour of the extended hand, starting from the wrist to the little finger.

Step 3. As you move up the little finger, inhale. While following the outline of the little finger down, exhale. Move up to the ring finger and inhale. Get off the ring finger and exhale.

Step 4. Continue from finger to finger until you have followed the outline of the entire hand. Now reverse the process and go from thumb to little finger, make sure you inhale as you go up and exhale as you go down.

Connect with nature

Spend time outdoors. Look at the birds. Walk through the trees. Look at the landscape and objects around you during a walk . Recent research shows that consciously observing the wonders of nature increases the mental health benefits of walking .

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