Due to COVID-19 virus, our country and the globe are experiencing many challenges trying to manage this virus outbreak. For us in the US, lots of states issues "stay at home" orders and many industries and business are shut down. With people working from home all of a sudden, kids are not in school and dealing with the news media can be a bit much. So, how can we manage our mental outlook and daily challenges?
It’s better for your mental health to see this time as a collective challenge – one that is extremely difficult but which can be met if everyone works together.
When you size something up as a challenge, it’s easier to rise to the occasion. Instead of withdrawing from the problem, you shift to problem-solving. People with this mindset draw on others to help, and they offer their own support to those in need. Research has shown that working collaboratively and helping others has great mental health benefits for the helper.
It would be ludicrous not to acknowledge the real threats the world faces right now, and the disproportionate impact this difficult time has on already marginalized communities. But you need not define this threat as insurmountable and get stuck there. Choose instead to work together – albeit remotely – and accept the coronavirus challenge. The shift from threat to challenge might just make it a little easier to stay home, to close the browser and stop reading about COVID-19 24/7, to wash your hands for a full 20 seconds and to buy just what you need at the store so others can do the same.
As a side note - Continuous worry doesn’t just sap your happiness. Worry can also contribute to a wide variety of health issues that can be eliminated or improved by minimizing your worrying habit. Worry is a form of stress. Your doctor will never tell you that you need more stress in your life. Why? When you are worried your body releases stress hormones when you worry. These hormones can have a negative impact on your blood sugar, triglycerides, digestion, mood, blood vessels, heart, and immune system. Stress can make you more physically capable in the very short-term, but harms your health in the long-term.
Worrying isn’t just unpleasant. It can actually kill you!
How you handle stress and worry can impact your physical health and longevity. Remember that stress is only the trigger. It’s your response that can cause health problems. Excessive worry will have a negative effect on your health. Choose a healthy response to worry, and your health will be enhanced.
Some of those healthy responses can be:
Exercising - it is great for your body and mind
Connecting with friends or family who are positive and uplifting – use technology, i.e. zoom, facetime, Skype, and many other platforms are available
Sleep - get daily 7 - 8 hrs sleep. Great for your nervous system and you will be able to cope more confidently and positively with daily occurrences
These behaviors might not help to eliminate the source of your worry, but they are all options that contribute to your physical and emotional health.
Everyone is forced to deal with worry. What differs between people is their response to worry. Some choose to address the cause of worry. Others distract themselves. Some choose to worry even more.
The most effective solution to worry is addressing it directly. Anything else is an attempt to distract yourself.