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How to deal with stress during these uncertain times

Driving Healthcare Innovations

By Lahiru Rukshan on October 15th, 2020

This year’s Word Mental Health Day has fallen during a time our lives have completely changed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Usually, the 10th of October each year, is celebrated to create awareness on mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. But due to the ongoing pandemic, mental health has come to the forefront of issues due to people losing their jobs cuts, spousal and family issues, the increase in domestic violence, and the overload of work which is affecting the minds of the masses.
Those living in developing countries such as ours, are the most affected when it comes to mental health as our living conditions and economy are very much hanging by a thread.

What does it mean to be stressed and what causes it?

While stress can mean a multitude of things, being stressed mainly means, feeling troubled and/or threatened by life.

During times of COVID-19, stress can be caused by a multitude of things like; 

During these times stress has become a common mental health issue. But high amounts of stress can be fatal, both mentally and physically. 

While being stressed is a natural part of life, it is important to not allow these stressful feelings and thoughts to linger for a prolonged period of time. When this happens, we say that you are hooked on your stressful feelings and thoughts.

These disruptive and possessive feelings and thoughts tend to pull us away from our values. Our values are what makes us human (caring, attentive, responsible, persistent, protective, etc.). So when we are hooked on negative feelings and thoughts our behavior changes causing us to make bad decisions that make our (and their) life miserable.

The trick to avoid being hooked on these feelings and thoughts is to be focused and engaged. You can start by simply paying attention to a simple everyday action (or task) such as enjoying a beverage as you are doing for the first time. 

You must always be present. Therefore, always be engaged and focused on the task at hand to avoid intrusive and destructive thoughts and feelings.

But what if these thoughts and feelings turn into a maelstrom of anger and despair overpowering any form of rational thinking?

Well, then you are dealing with what experts call an “emotional storm”. These emotional storms can also be held at bay by grounding yourself. 

So not all hope is lost.

In order to ground yourself, firstly you must understand how you are feeling and what you are thinking. Now you can engage in a simple grounding exercise such as breathing in and out. 

The above exercises on focusing, engaging, and grounding are simple everyday exercises that can be performed as and when you experience mental fatigue. It is important to keep these exercises in your daily to-do list and practice them as a habit. So always remember, practice makes perfect and prevention is better than cure.  

While mental health problems like stress is frightening, it is important to understand that they are curable and preventable. Simply talking to a friend or family member (if a trained professional is not available) can help. If that is impossible, startups such as Chatpal (http://chatpal.interreg-npa.eu/) are using technology to help you connect and communicate your deepest fears from the comfort of your home via a smartphone. 

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