Monday, October 19, 2020

How to keep yourself together in these hard times: Part I


2020: Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Hacks

Part I

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. I was going to write this all in one swoop, but I have a lot to write and I want to get this out soon. More to come!

1. Get regular acupuncture.
Yes, of course I’m going to put this at the top! Many of my patients credit regular acupuncture for getting them through the stress and anxiety of their daily lives. They tell me they notice right away if they skip a treatment. Acupuncture has been documented to sedate the sympathetic nervous system and activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest). Acupuncture treatments can calm anxiety and promote deeper and more restful sleep. Patients often tell me they feel ‘clearer’ and ‘more centered’ after an acupuncture treatment. 

2. Commit to a News and Social Media Detox Put down your phone. Turn off the TV. Back away from the computer, folks! Take a break from social media and the 24 hour a day news cycle. Two hundred years ago, we knew about the happenings of our own little town and maybe a very little bit more. Now, we have other states, the nation, other nations, the world and each and every headline competing for our attention. Overconsumption of this media leads to feelings of fear, anxiety and helplessness. The world will keep turning without you watching it. Your psyche is begging for a break, trust me!

3. Dance like no one’s watching So, perhaps you’re sitting there thinking “I’m so sick of trying to calm down I could scream!” In that case, I recommend having a good old fashioned dance party. Pull the shades, crank your stereo and dance like nobody’s watching. I think the reason so many people feel better after dancing is that it 1) it reconnects you with your physical body 2) it grounds you by drawing your Qi down to your feet 2) It connects you with the primal human affinity to rhythm 3) it releases endorphins and decreases cortisol 4) it moves stagnant Qi 5) plus it’s a fun way to burn calories! 

4. Keep a gratitude journal Our brains are adept at keeping us alive. Unfortunately, that means they are very good at attracting our attention to all the negative things in our world that might adversely affect us. Making a conscious effort to look for things in our life that we are grateful for is a way to rewire our brain towards happiness. Researchers have found that individuals who keep a gratitude practice are more optimistic and have a greater sense of happiness overall. 

5. Use a weighted blanket Weighted blankets provide deep touch pressure. This type of pressure has been shown to increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of sleep that has a calming effect. Also, the feeling of being held in an embrace encourages your body to produce oxytocin, another feel-good hormone boosts the immune system, helps relieve pain and mitigates stress. Some folks find a marked decrease in their anxiety and chronic pain all by using a weighted blanket. 

Left Hand Community Acupuncture offers an affordable sliding scale of $40-$65. We do not ask for proof of income. You decide what you feel is fair to you and fair to us. We treat patients in a relaxed, group setting that promotes an atmosphere of healing. Caroline Adams is a Licensed 
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.  

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