Manage Stress And Anxiety During The Pandemic
Your brain is well equipped to protect you, especially in the presence of very real (or even imagined) stress. The initial response to a stressful situation results in energy that helps you react to the threat you perceive. It is part of what makes the anxiety or stress you experience occasionally motivate you to take on an important task, study for a test, or take a new job.
Stress is caused by external stimuli, while anxiety is an internal response to stress. Even though stress is inevitable, humans are well equipped to endure a long period of stress and anxiety. Poorly managed stress or chronic anxiety, on the other hand, can severely affect emotions, memory, and overall health.
COVID-19 – the disease caused by the novel coronavirus – and the information overload it has resulted in has caused stress and anxiety to skyrocket worldwide. The complex human brain is endowed with a unique ability to imagine threats to health and the myriad ways this virus can harm. Most COVID-19 recover and experience only mild or moderate symptoms like body aches, fever, and cough. Above all, it is the uncertainty about its effects on individuals’ physical, financial, and social health (and those close to them) that creates this unprecedented level of stress and anxiety.
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Table of Contents
Stress And Anxiety: A Look Back At Their Mode Of Action
Our human ancestors had to resort to a fight or flight response to survive in their inhospitable world. In a state of fear or stress, a charge of adrenaline prepared them to flee danger or defend their territory and stay. In our modern societies, this process is seldom necessary for survival.
Stress sets off chain reactions that first start in your protective brain. When you perceive an incident as terrifying, the tonsils – two almond-shaped masses each located in a hemisphere of the brain – kick in. These two complex cells help regulate the survival instinct (fight-or-flight response), emotions, hormone secretion, and memory.
Studies suggest that the tonsils also participate in the process of anxiety. It is believed that the tonsils of people with an anxiety disorder are hyperreactive. The tonsils are part of a more extensive network within the central nervous system that regulates the physiological effects of stress and anxiety.
The body’s stress response system is designed to switch when needed and switch off as the threat subsides. Feeling anxious or stressed is part of this quick process that helps us stay alert when in danger. On the other hand, persistent stress or anxiety can be problematic and affect physical and mental health.
The ongoing global pandemic is conducive to a lingering sense of stress. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the potential effects of the COVID-19 crisis on your health, both mental and physical, and to find ways to deal with the stress and anxiety you feel.
Information Overload Contributes To Stress And Anxiety
In our modern world, we are no longer content to rely on the Internet for the sole purpose of work or study; it is used today as a means of entertainment, meeting, and contact with people, and as a source of the information world. It is accessible at your fingertips, 24 hours a day.
For many people, a good morning ritual begins with reading the newspaper, checking social media messages and posts, glancing at the TV news, or listening to the radio. However, you have to ask yourself if this is the right way to start the day.
Most people have never lived through a global pandemic as dire as that of COVID-19. A tiny virus invisible to the human eye has abruptly changed the way of life for almost everyone, causing a global health and financial crisis, inspiring fear of an unknown future.
Recognize the signs of stress
We all get stressed out from time to time, but it’s everyone’s reaction to stress and anxiety that makes all the difference. The symptoms of persistent and poorly managed psychological and physical stress are very numerous. Here are a few examples:
- Increase or decrease in activity or usual energy
- Difficulty sleeping or relaxing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Frequent headaches
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
- Change in appetite
- Increased vigilance
- More irritable or angry feelings
- Excessive worry
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Feeling tired
- Inability to have fun and have fun
- Preference for solitude
- The feeling of anxiety or fear, or confusion
- Difficulty making decisions or having clear ideas
- Increased or reduced consumption of alcoholic beverages or tobacco or abuse of medication or illicit drugs
Long-term activation of the body’s stress response system can increase the risk of severe health problems. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and take the necessary steps to manage it before it gets out of hand.
Take Care Of Yourself
At all times, finding new ways to decompress and have stress-free time every day is essential for your long-term health. It is especially crucial during a global pandemic.
The anxiety and worry about everything that is going on in the world and the possible repercussions on aspects of our lives are quite understandable. Most importantly, remember to listen to your body and emotions and get what you need when you need it. Strive to be hopeful and celebrate your successes, no matter how small, express your gratitude and love, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help when needed.
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