I spend a couple hours every day watching the Coronavirus Task Force as it provides the most recent updates.
I do this because I want to know what impact COVID-19 can have on my physical health. I’m also interested in learning what actions the government is taking to limit the economic devastation faced by so many families.
But one area that seems to lack any major coverage is mental health. This is sad in a time when so many of us are struggling with higher levels of anxiety, which too can ultimately also impact our health.
Anxiety and Health
Harvard Medical School explains that, when untreated, anxiety can contribute to heart disease, gastrointestinal conditions, and, get this, respiratory disorders.
I’m certainly no doctor, but since the coronavirus is characterized by respiratory issues, my mind can’t help but try to make a connection. At a minimum, it certainly can’t help.
The Mayo Clinic adds that anxiety can also lead to other issues, some of which include depression, insomnia, substance misuse, and a lower quality of life.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to escape this virus just to develop these types of issues. That’s why I’m constantly working on lowering my anxiety during what feels like a very trying time.
Admittedly, not all of the things I’ve tried have worked. For instance, I’ve tried eating my way to comfort and solace. Sweets seem to be my preferred snack. But now I’m anxious about my weight along with being anxious about the coronavirus spread.
What have I done that has seemed to work?
Effective Ways to Reduce Your Anxiety
Let me preface this by saying that, though these options have worked for me, it is important to figure out what will make you feel better. With that in mind, here a few things I’ve tried that have been helpful:
Exercising. Research has found that physical activity can help lower anxiety. This is partly due to the way this is by promoting the release of endorphins that “may induce a euphroic state.” Sometimes I walk on my treadmill and other times I head outdoors for some fresh air and sunshine. Both have helped lower my anxiety levels and I always feel better after.
Share your concerns with friends. There’s something to be said for talking about your concerns with a good friend. If they have the same type of anxiety, it reminds you that you’re not alone. Even if they don’t, it just feels good to get it off your chest.
Do things that make you happy. This one is huge! When I’m feeling overwhelmed with anxiety, doing something I enjoy helps distract me and pull me out of it. For me, this generally involves watching a TV show I’ve recorded or listening to my favorite music. What can you do today that makes you happy while lowering your anxiety at the same time?
Focus on the positive facts. It’s easy to get sucked in by the growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and escalating number of deaths. However, I’ve found that my anxiety levels are lower when I focus on the positive facts instead. Some that I’ve found comforting is the relatively low death rate and that most people will successfully recover.
Do what you can. Anxiety can go through the roof when you feel a lack of control. Though we may not be able to stop all cases of the virus, there are still things we can do to help resolve this pandemic as quickly as possible. The CDC says that this includes washing our hands often and avoiding contact with people who are sick. Even if we can’t wave a magic wand to make it go away, we can do our part to slow the spread.
Any you’d like to add? If so, comment below!
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