At this uncertain time where Covid-19 is all around us and creating so much anxiety and fear it seems a good time to explain how we can stay positive and reduce our anxiety during this current time.
The most important thing to remember is that we can’t control what is happening around us. We can only control our own thoughts and actions. Anxiety is created when we negatively forecast the future. In this situation we may be thinking, ‘I’m going to get the virus’, ‘My family members will get it’, ‘What will happen if I have to self isolate?’ It is important to remember that our brains can not tell the difference between imagination and reality. When we have these negative thoughts our brains go into overdrive, thinking that the situation is real and trying to protect us as a result. The way our brains will step in to help us out is either through anxiety, depression or anger or a combination of all three. In primitive times, these responses would have been appropriate to protect ourselves against wild animals and tribesmen, but not so much now. So how can we control these anxieties?…
The main method that we have as humans to stay happy, focused and brave is that our brains can create serotonin. Some of you may have heard of serotonin before, it is commonly referred to as the ‘happy hormone’ and it is easier to produce naturally than we may think. In prehistoric times cavemen produced serotonin by going out to hunt, supporting themselves and their families and being thankful for the fact that their families were eating because of them! So, although we don’t have to go out to hunt, we do need to produce serotonin in other ways to stay in control of our anxiety and negative thoughts. The way we do this is in the following ways:
- Positive actions
- Positive thoughts
- Positive interactions
When we do these things we produce a constant flow of serotonin that prevents our brains from going into overdrive and producing an overload of stress hormones (adrenaline).
So what can we do to help us to keep on top of these positive actions, interactions and thoughts?
If you still can, then get outside in the fresh air, even if it’s for 20 minutes. Being outdoors produces masses of serotonin, especially when the sun is shining! Continue to exercise if you can, exercise is one of the biggest producers of serotonin. Keep talking to people, even if you are self isolating, chat to people via whats app, facetime, skype, anything! A good conversation with a friend of family member will perk you up no end. Maybe do something nice for a neighbour such as getting them a bit of shopping, doing things for others in turn makes us feel better! Write down some positive things or things that you are grateful for. Sometimes we forget all the good things we do have, especially with everything going on in the world right now. Seeing those things written down will help you to boost your serotonin levels and beat that anxiety. And the most important thing- sleep! A good sleep helps to empty our anxieties from the day and wake up the next day feeling refreshed and ready to go.
So, although we can’t control COVID-19 we CAN control our own thoughts and stay positive 🙂