By Anne Boudreau, Author, A Human Mosaic: Heal, Renew & Develop Self-Worth
With widespread fear, anxiety, and even panic over the spread of coronavirus, people everywhere are struggling to cope with their thoughts and emotions. The burden of an uncertain future combined with the strain that comes from worrying about loved ones, concern over financial stability, and the isolation of living under lockdown is daunting to millions of people.
Given the magnitude of what we are facing, it’s no wonder that many of us are experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions, most notably, an inordinate amount of stress. Chronic stress is harmful to our short and long-term health; therefore, we can all benefit from developing healthy practices to reduce tension, ease frustration, and diminish angst, as well as promote holistic wellbeing.
Here are a few powerful practices to adopt into your daily life that will help you alleviate stress and nourish your mind:
Feed yourself with calming thoughts and words — Positive self-talk is a superb source of motivation and sustenance. Use short, pithy phrases or power-packed, inspirational words to shift your mood. Create personal mantras that mean something to you. Do not repeat negative beliefs about yourself. Stay away from using the words ‘never’ or ‘always…Do not ‘negative futurize’ — as in believing something bad is going to happen instead of something good is going to happen. Be aware of negative thoughts that are triggered within you and reframe them into positive ones.
Breathe deeply and exercise your lungs to release fear — Inhale slowly through your nose with your shoulders relaxed, expanding your abdomen (put your hand on your belly to make sure it’s your abdomen rising and falling and not your chest). Exhale slowly through your mouth, keeping your jaw relaxed. Repeat for several minutes. If you are distraught for any reason, focusing on your breathing will help you calm down. Deep breathing can even prevent panic attacks.
Check in with yourself — If you establish a habit of checking in with yourself daily, you are far less likely to succumb to negative messages that attack your state of mind. Neglecting to do this is like waiting to take your temperature until you collapse on your feet. ‘Taking your temperature,’ or checking in with yourself, is a way to monitor your thoughts and behavior. By checking in with yourself, you can self-regulate your temperament throughout the day to remain calm and maintain your cool.
Reset your mood — Our society has trained us to feel fear when we are unfamiliar with something, when we are in an adverse situation, or when we are facing a problem. Yet, when we fear something, we are channeling our energy toward that fear, and in our attempt to fight the fear, we pour more energy and focus into the fear itself.
An immediate way to change the script in your brain from negative to positive is to accept what you are feeling, then choose to change your thoughts and emotions and reset your mood. Managing your thoughts is a conscious and conscientious choice, every moment of every day. Right now, more than ever, keeping yourself calm with soothing modalities is pivotal to your health. Your best option is to make the choices that will help you feel connected to your inner source of peace —your spiritual center or your soul.
Gain Perspective — When you experience a situation that causes extreme anxiety, you lose your perspective, or your ability to view circumstances with clarity. With perspective, you are able to detach yourself from the drama of your emotions and become more objective. Perspective enables you to view anything, no matter what, with greater understanding. Given the fact that we are all traversing tenuous terrain with the corona virus, enabling yourself to detach from the intensity is immensely important to your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
Experiment to find the self-care techniques that work best for you — Adopting these practices can help you cope with the current global crisis and provide you with the inner strength and stamina you need to face these challenging circumstances.
The actions we choose to nurture and fortify our wellbeing differ from person to person, since each of us is unique. It is important to find activities that you love and find meaningful so that you will continue to participate.
About: Anne Ockene Boudreau is an inspirational author, coach, and executive who is devoted to helping others develop healthy self-worth. In her new book, “A Human Mosaic: Heal, Renew & Develop Self-Worth,” she reveals how self-worth is a critical element for sustainable personal change. For more information visit www.AnneOBoudreau.com.