One of the major reasons for experiencing anxiety, especially with the pandemic situation, is the feeling of uncertainty and unpredictability over one’s own life.
By Divya Thampi
Anxiety is the human capacity to anticipate and prepare for threats. Hence it is meant to be beneficial at a basic level. But, when the frequency or intensity (or both) of anxiety increases, then it can play havoc by impacting every aspect of your life. One of the major reasons for experiencing anxiety, especially with the pandemic situation, is the feeling of uncertainty and unpredictability over one’s own life.
But here are 4 effective yet simple ways in which you can manage this covid anxiety.
Set a healthy routine –
Routines help us have a sense of control over our day. For example if your day starts with you waking up at 7 followed by drinking water, lighting the lamp, stretching for 10 minutes, having tea or going for a walk, then you know exactly what you are going to be doing for the next hour after waking up. Having to constantly take small decisions like whether to drink water next or whether to exercise or not, causes a lot of cognitive load. Hence having personal & family routines gives you a sense of predictability and helps to reduce stress levels. Set up a simple and healthy routine for you to start your day and make sure that it doesn’t include checking the phone at least for the first one hour.
Choose what you feed your mind
Most people are particular about what they eat but the majority of us give no consideration to what we feed the mind. The mind is no different to your body – what you feed the mind has a huge impact on how you feel throughout the day. Be intentional about who you spend time with, because spending time with people who gossip and complain regularly, can leave you feeling exhausted in a matter of minutes. Your mind picks up patterns. So that aggressive Netflix series can leave you in a constant state of anxiety. Similarly social media and newspapers have the tendency to support the idea that the world is an unsafe place. Or then they leave you with the Fear Of Missing Out. Hence limit the use of these platforms and instead, spend more time with nature, read books and nurture relationships with people who add value to your life.
Feeling grateful has the power to make you resilient. You may remember that one occasion when your spouse got irritated with you and you spent the rest of the day feeling miserable? This tendency of the human mind to automatically focus more on any perceived threat or negative occurrences, is called “Negativity Bias”. But when you practice gratitude, you consciously bring your mind’s attention to the things that went well. With daily practice new neural pathways form within the brain & it becomes easier for your mind to focus on even the small things that are going well in your life. At the end of each day, think of how you felt the cool breeze on your face or how you were able to complete a tough task with ease or how your toddler hugged you tight; and savour the day’s memories with gratitude.
Eat, Move, Sleep
The impact of these three activities on the mind is highly underrated. Limiting food consumption & eating fresh foods can help remove the fogginess and bring back vitality to the mind. Movement of the body in the form of exercise, even for 30 minutes each day, releases endorphins which reduces the impact of stress hormones and also aids the feelings of relaxation and calm. And sleep is the “Reset” button for your mind. 6-8 hrs of deep sleep allows the mind to process all the thoughts and recharge it with the much needed energy & focus.
These are trying times for most people. But remember that to experience happiness and peace you don’t have to control the world. All you have to do is focus on the next step you can take to make progress towards whatever it is that you want in life. The most valuable real estate lies between your ears and these daily emotional hygiene practices will keep that space clean and healthy.
(The author is Emotional Wellness & Mid-Career Coach. The author is also an Emotional Wellness coach at GOQii and conducts live interactive video classes on GOQii Play once a month. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)