2020: Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Hacks Part II
Whether it’s the pandemic, the fires, or the election, it seems like all of us are feeling the effects of 2020. For some of us that means anxiety, for some it means depression. Some of us aren’t sleeping, some of us are frustrated by online schooling and having our plans messed up. What follows is a list of coping strategies. Not every strategy will work well for every person. Pick one or two. Commit to them regularly. Part III next week!
1. Meditate Start a daily meditation practice. You don’t have to meditate for hours on end to reap the benefits from it. Start small with just a few minutes a day, everyday. Meditation literally changes the structure of the brain which can lead to such benefits as improving your attention span, decreasing your sensitivity to pain, and increasing relaxation. One of my favorite meditation hacks is to meditate while moving; this give my monkey mind something to do while I focus my attention. Even something as simple as swinging my arms gently back and forth makes meditation easier for me. There are many meditation apps out on the market. Calm and Headspace are two of the most popular. There are also many many Youtube videos out there. One of my all time favorite audio programs is The Art of Mindful Living by Thich Nhat Hanh https://www.soundstrue.com/products/the-art-of-mindful-living More on the benefits of meditation: https://io9.gizmodo.com/how-meditation-changes-your-brain-and-makes-you-feel-b-470030863
2. Find a therapist Yes, it might be time to actually confront your issues. Having a licensed therapist assist you on the journey is so much easier than trying the DIY method. It’s easier than ever to find a therapist during the time of COVID. A lot of therapists are conducting sessions via video or text. Some good places to start are www.betterhelp.com, www.sondermind.com, and www.psychologytoday.com. Also, check with your insurance company to see if you might be eligible for a benefit.
3. Phone a Friend If you still don’t think therapy is right for you, consider talking to a close friend. When you talk it out, you start to organize and make sense of your negative emotions, this helps get you away from the influence of your limbic (fight/flight/freeze) brain. Holding back negative emotions is stressful, getting them out decreases the mental/emotional strain on your body. I encourage you to be a good friend as well. Being a good listener and counselor to your friends can make you feel useful and fulfilled! https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/03/smarter-living/talking-out-problems.html
4. Start Some Good Habits I just finished reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. He provides a lot of great information about ways to successfully instill good habits and how to stop bad ones. There are a lot of little tips in this book, even if you only employ one of them you will make compounding gains over a lifetime! I found it much more helpful than the books that say “Hey, just go out there and make that change today.” He gives strategies for building up to changes big and little. Starting and keeping beneficial habits is a great way to feel in control of your life. https://jamesclear.com/
Acupuncturist and nationally board certified. Acupuncture can help with a wide range of health
issues including pain, stress, insomnia, arthritis, allergies, depression, headaches, fatigue, cold and flu, digestive issues, PMS, and many other health concerns.