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April 15, 2020

3 Things to Ease COVID-19 Stress

… & You may not have Thought of

Worry Thoughts.  The nature of worry thoughts are that they are repetitive and preoccupy our mind.  Eventually they rev you up into irritation. It feels like you are caught in a squirrel’s wheel.  When you notice you have worry thoughts, STOP, and say to yourself:

  • “I am having worry thoughts”.  This identifies the thought process and allows you to examine your thoughts validity.  Usually, worry thoughts have some truth in them, but reflect not all the truth, and do not reflect the actual work you already have done to mitigate that worry. 
  • Recount to yourself the actions you have taken to mitigate the worry your thoughts are perseverating on. “OK, I am worried about …., but I have done …, and …, and am currently doing … .
  • I have done all I can do.  Now I must let the rest go.  This may be difficult.  Let your worry thought be and focus on your breath, making your out-breath significantly longer than your in-breath.  You may want to breathe in on the count of 1, and breathe out on the count of 4.  It will only take a couple of minutes for you to feel an immediate relaxation response and your worry thought may have less power over you. 

Your Breath Can Transform Your Anxiety

Cardiac Coherence.  When you have extra time, you may want to support your entire physiology through conscious breathing.  There are 2 ways to do this. 

  • Go to YouTube and type in “Cardiac Coherence”.  The first listing will be a picture of a water drop falling.  Click on it and follow the instructions for breathing.  This app helps you breathe 6 breaths per minute.  This is the magic number for regulating heart rate, regulating blood pressure and regulating your emotions.  Practice it whenever you have a minute.
  • If you own an I-watch, it comes with a breathing app.  Just set the app to 6 breaths per minute and practice the breathing whenever you have time.  Your watch will also give you the feedback of your BPM and you will be able to see the almost immediate change in your heart rate. It works.

Your Breath Can Regulate Your Emotions and Physiology

It is Spring Time.  Spring time reminds us that there is a rhythmic unstoppable force in nature.  Right now nature renews itself.  It is a wonderful reminder that this COVID-19 epidemic will pass and that renewal will happen. It’s unstoppable.  Be out in Nature.  Find an area where you know only few people will go.  Breathe deeply and enjoy.

  • Notice the warmth of the sun on you. Notice the breeze in your hair, on your skin, and in the sway of the grasses.
  • Notice the birds songs; notice the butterflies; notice the different colors of green.
  • Notice the wild flowers and even the beautiful flowers of the tiniest weeds.  Notice how they can grow in even the most inhospitable places.
  • Notice and wonder at the beauty surrounding you.

Mindful Awareness can Transform Suffering

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