Three Simple (but important) Things to Remember about StressApr 10, 2020
It’s normal to feel fear and anxiety during times of uncertainty.
Dr. Allyson Cherkasky, a psychologist at the Beth-Israel Lahey Medical Weight Loss and Professor at William James College, confirmed these feelings can actually help us care for ourselves, and others, if we handle them correctly.
The “flight or fight” response caused by fear is an age-old mechanism designed to keep us safe. It affects every organ of the body, the brain, the heart, the skin, the endocrine system, etc. So when we’re stressed and our psychological resources are down, our biological resources breakdown as well.
Anxiety also affects our immunological response. Now, more than ever, we need to devise ways to manage the stress we're feeling during times of crisis. Some tips from our interview with Dr. Cherkowsy include:
- Simply acknowledge your fear and anxiety. Know that these feels are normal. If you’re feeling anxious, uncertain or scared there’s nothing wrong with you.
- Making space for your feelings. Now’s the time to feel your feelings – not feed them! Talk about them. Be with them. Think about them. But don’t let them engulf you or force you to pull the covers over your head.
- Identify what you can control. There are so many things we cannot control, but there's lots that we can. Make a list of what worries you and write down what you can do about it. For example, if you’re worried about the virus you can continue following the advice of medical and public health professionals. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing.
Other ways to manage stress and anxiety include:
- Breathe – Three slow, deep breaths (inhale for 3 seconds, exhale slowly for 3 seconds) will go a long way in calming your nervous system
- Make a list – Write down the top 3 things you’re worries you most and brainstorm what you can do about it.
- Reach out – We are social animals. We’re meant not meant to be alone. Connect with friends or family or contact a mental health professional if you want help finding ways to cope with your stress and anxiety.
Watch the full video here (if you have permission):