There has been much written over the last few weeks about coping with COVID 19’s special and insidious brand of anxiety. We are all experiencing it, individually and collectively, locally with our families and neighbors and of course with our fellow human beings around the globe.
Stress is a natural function of the human condition and it serves a purpose. Our brains are wired to let us know when we need to act quickly in the face of a threat. And that’s a good thing. But what we’re not terribly skilled at is distinguishing between anxiety and real fear. Renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg points this out in one of her guided meditation exercises which you can find in Ten Percent Happier’s excellent Coronavirus Sanity Guide. She suggests that when you begin to feel worried, take a pause and think about whether you are experiencing fear (in response to a true, immediate threat) or anxiety (which is more often based in thought and not in fact. This is where the “what-if’s” often come into play).
The undercurrent of tension is in all of us these days. Concerns about health, the economy, how to handle self-quarantine and all the stress that brings – just the act of trying to wrap our brains around our new (but temporary!) way of life – it’s all nerve-inducing and utterly draining. As a result, our bodies respond with heightened levels of cortisol, and that is appropriate. However, when cortisol remains high over long periods of time, our overall health suffers.
So what can you do to de-stress? Of course, one person’s self-care trash is another one’s treasure. This is no time to try and pretend you like bath bombs when you actually can’t stand them. Maximize what brings you joy, what you find affirming, and what helps you escape – even if for only a few minutes at a time (in fact, DO limit your exposure to the news and social media). All of these things allow your body to hit the re-set button, which is critical to well-being.
If you need suggestions for turning down the cortisol dial, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Maze is pleased to offer Telehealth Services to our patients at Maze Men’s Health and Maze Women’s Health. Contact us to schedule a call with one of our specialists today.
Anxiety reduction comes with our territory, and we’ve got lots of tips to share.