B.R.E.A.T.H.E.: How to Survive Rising COVID-19-Related Anxiety Levels

When our brain is hijacked by so many strong emotions, it may seem that there is nothing we can do to calm the anxiety," says Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D.
 
CAMARILLO, Calif. - April 21, 2020 - PRLog -- According to a just released survey (https://dornsife.usc.edu/news/stories/3198/coronavirus-covid-19-job-loss-and-anxiety-increases/) by USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR), anxiety linked to COVID-19-related issues is on the rise. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed nationally experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression, up from 30 percent since mid-March. Worries over job loss, running out of money and contracting COVID-19 are all increasing.

"When our brain is hijacked by so many strong emotions, it may seem that there is nothing we can do to calm the anxiety," says Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, consultant and author of  The Power of Appreciation. (https://www.amazon.com/Power-Appreciation-Key-Vibrant-Life/dp/1582701040/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Power+of+appreciation&qid=1584988882&sr=8-1) Nelson suggests that when anxiety begins to build, follow her B.R.EA.T.H.E. guidelines.

Breathe. Whenever stress creeps up, take three slow, deliberate, deep breaths. Focus only on your breathing. You will interrupt the pattern of panic or fearful emotions just long enough to calm down and get your normal thinking brain in gear. Deep breathing naturally relaxes our heartbeat and steadies us.

Reclaim Your Relationships. If you're with your kids at home, see it as a positive even if they're loud and demanding sometimes. Make the effort to connect with extended family and friends. We can often let these relationships slip when we are caught up in an emotional maelstrom.

Express Your Emotions. Find a safe person, someone you can trust with your emotional life. Finding such a person and regularly interacting with them is a critical way of regaining your sense of worth and easing anxiety.

Aim Your Focus. Rehashing troubles endlessly only succeeds in making us more anxious, more stressed, more out of control. When you find yourself drifting into useless rumination or questioning, stay focused in the present, in the here and now.

Transform Negative Thoughts. Closely related to aiming our focus is transforming negative thoughts. Be alert to when your thoughts veer into negative thinking. Reframe them into statements that are more positive. Look for solutions, be proactive. Above all, you have to be sincere.

Heal Your Body. Pay attention to the physical manifestations of anxiety. Stick with a healthy routine. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, since good sleep is one of the body's best restorative tools.

Exercise. Exercise at home--even it if means going to the gym via a YouTube exercise video. Exercise is not only good for your body, it releases endorphins that help you get into a more positive frame of mind.

For more anxiety-reducing suggestions, go to www.NoelleNelson.com.

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