There is a lot of information being made available to help us stay informed on the Coronovirus (COVID-19). The majority of that information helps us know what to do to protect our physical self. (hand washing, social distancing) That information is very important, but it is also important to discuss ways to manage your anxiety during the Coronavirus pandemic.
None of us like uncertainty, especially for an extended period of time. The longer we are out of our comfort zones and our routines, the more unsettled we become. Here are few tips to help your nervous system feel calmer.
Bilateral tapping (Bi-Tapp) activates the sensing part of the brain. It is an automatic process that happens. Think of when you walk into a movie theater and smell popcorn. You cannot choose to not smell the popcorn, it just automatically happens.
When the tapping is bilateral, meaning it is taking place on each side of your body, your brain cannot choose to disregard the tapping. This back and forth tapping calms the emotion part of your brain automatically.
You can cross your arms and tap back and forth, left, right, left right. You can also place your hands on your thighs and do this or tap your feet back and forth in the same manner.
For the times when you would rather just have the tapping done for you, you can utilize Bluetooth tappers found at https://bi-tapp.com. Find the setting that is calming to you and the tappers will do the tapping for you. Within a few minutes, you will notice that you are feeling less overwhelmed and less anxious.
It is important to stay hydrated for good health. It has added benefits during times of heightened stress.
If you will take a drink of water, you are switching on the digestive system which activates the relaxation response. This helps you feel calmer. You can also chew gum. (1)
Take a deep breath
Most of us know that when we feel overwhelmed or anxious to take a deep breath. However, the more anxious we become, the more we tend to forget to do this.
Every so often, take a deep, slow breath.
Stay connected with your friends and loved ones. Even if you aren’t able to see them in person, still reach out. Talk, laugh, cry. Stay connected.
We are hardwired for connection. We need each other. Right now, not only is our anxiety increasing because of the many changes we are all experiencing in our daily lives and routine, but we have an increased sense of isolation.
It is well known that animals provide comfort and help us feel calmer. So, for all of you animal lovers, you already know the benefit of having your pet to play with or snuggle up next to you.
Feeling connected to nature also has a positive impact on us. Going for a short walk or tending to flowers is often calming. Even if you open a window and take in a breath of fresh air, you are benefiting from connecting with nature.
Many of us know that when we exercise, we feel better overall. Our physical health improves as does our mental and emotional health. When you are feeling anxious, if you can go for a walk down around the block, it will help you release the build up of stress hormones. When animals feel anxious, they tend to hop, fly or run away. We tend to sit in our anxiety. So, movement helps you feel better.
Sometimes we are in situations where we can’t leave and go for a walk. In those situations, remember that any movement is better than no movement at all. Stretch, jump up and down, dance, march.
Grounding techniques help us focus on the “here and now.” If you are able to focus on your senses, you are helping your brain shift from a heightened state to a calmer state.
Here are a few examples of grounding techniques:
- Move your feet, feel them on the ground
- Look around and name three colors you see
- Take in the smell of something that is calming to you, such as smell of fresh coffee or the smell of fresh baked cookies
- Listen to the sounds around you
- Feel the texture of different items
There are ways to manage our anxiety during the Coronavirus pandemic, which is important because just like a runner can’t run at a high speed for an extended amount of time, our nervous system wasn’t made to be on high alert for an extended amount of time.
- Shapiro, E. (2012) 4 Elements Exercise for Stress Reduction.