We have been in lock down for a while now and your new lifestyle might start to feel a bit more normal. You keep your two metre distance from others. You stay at home and you try to get on with your life. But you might still feel far from normal. The whole situation is highly anxiety provoking for many of us. Here are three ideas on how to keep calm:
1) Moderate your media coverage of the coronavirus.
Get familiar with the facts by using reliable sources like the government website or the NHS. Getting information and updates about the coronavirus is important, but tuning into sensationalised media coverage that’s meant to induce anxiety and panic can be counterproductive to maintaining your personal or professional environments. Setting personal boundaries and limiting your media updates to fact-based, frequently updated government websites can help you stay informed without triggering anxiety or worry.
2) Another way how to keep calm is to understand how the brain works in these types of situations.
Let me explain the brain to you a bit. As helpful as your mid-brain’s “fight or flight” response can be to protect you from potentially dangerous situations, it can also stir up feelings of anxiety. These then translate into anxious thoughts during events such as the global spread of the Coronavirus. The flu is familiar; we all learn about it early on in life so we know what it is and how to handle it as adults. New viruses like COVID-19 are a lot more scary than an existing virus, because it is unknown. And all of that uncertainty can make it easy for your brain to latch onto anxious thoughts and spiral. Also in this day and age where we are exposed to a flood of contradictory information, sensationalism and plain mis-information our natural reaction is to be afraid. While it’s good to have awareness of what’s going on, taking time to be present with your anxious thoughts and feelings can help you discover whether your thoughts are fact-based or whether you are experiencing a stress response to the uncertainty of the situation. Understanding the difference between the two can help you maintain your inner peace as more information is gathered.
3) Practicing mindfulness is also a great way to learn how to keep calm
Mindfulness can help you navigate the overwhelming amount of information about the current Coronavirus situation. Since we are all now asked to stay at home we have a great opportunity to learn to be mindful. In particular it is helpful to work with our feelings during this period. It is not just anxiety that we experiencing at present. We will have feelings of grief, anger, confusion, depression and many others. Now is the time to turn towards all of these emotions and accept them as they arise.
If you have a mindfulness practice already now is the time to deepen it. If you liked this post and you would like to receive more of this, please sign up.