When people were celebrating the new year’s day on January 1st, 2020, I am sure nobody, in their wildest dreams, had expected this year to turn out the way it did. What have we not seen this year? There have been huge forest fires, locust swarms, explosions, riots, the release of UFO videos by the Pentagon, and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s only obvious that this year has left a lot of people in depression and desperately looking for ways to ensure mental well-being and find some stress relief.
There is probably not a single soul on the planet that has not been touched by the Coronavirus Anxiety in some way. It has killed over a million people, crashed the global economy, left millions of people jobless, and completely disrupted life as we knew it. But perhaps the most devastating effect of all this has been a second pandemic that psychologists are calling the “mental health pandemic”. The effect of stress and anxiety has far-reaching devastating effects than we can imagine. Not only our mental wellness, stress affects immunity t a great extent. So, it’s essential to understand its effects and how we can deal with them.
Stress happens when we think we have to find the answers and solutions all at once. Instead deal with them one at a time. Believe that you are strong !
Grave Effects of Stress On Health
You might already know how deadly stress and anxiety can be for your physical and mental well-being. After all, these silent killers are extremely common these days, and people can speak from experience how they make them feel. However, if you still don’t know the grave effects of stress and anxiety on your health, let me quickly list them for you.
1. Emotional Health Issues
Being stressed for longer periods can cause all sorts of emotional health issues. You tend to be easily annoyed, develop low self-esteem, prefer being alone, feel overwhelmed due to the smallest of tasks, become moody, and so on. You just lose control over your emotions, and as such, they start affecting your life and its various aspects in negative ways.
2. Cardiovascular Diseases
One of the biggest risks of being stressed all the time is developing cardiovascular diseases. Even before the pandemic, this was so common that it was known as a lifestyle disease. Now, during the pandemic, people are more at risk than ever of developing this condition. This includes high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, stroke, and in serious cases, even heart attacks.
Sleep is one of the first things to get negatively impacted when you’re stressed or anxious about something. How many sleepless nights have you had thinking about the uncertainties of the current times? I am sure you have lost count. The scary thing is, insomnia can lead to even more diseases and health conditions. So, relief from the coronavirus anxiety should be your number one priority if you have difficulty sleeping.
4. Aches All Over The Body
Stress doesn’t only exist in your mind. It manifests all over the body. You generally tend to hold stress in your stomach, neck, shoulders, your back, and some other places in the body. This causes your muscles to contract and ache from time to time. The longer you hold the stress, the more severe the pain gets. In some cases, you might even experience chest pains.
5. Mental Health Issues
Finally, we come to the mental health issues that I’m sure everyone has experienced at one point during this pandemic. You might have been depressed, feeling as though there is no happiness left in your life. Or you might have felt so anxious that it made you feel sick. You might have even experienced personality disorders, becoming erratic in your decision-making, and questioning your self-worth! These are all signs of a stressed mind.
Effective Ways To Stay Sane & Relaxed
Now that you know how dangerous it could be to live with stress, anxiety, and depression, it is time to focus on how you can be more relaxed and achieve mental well-being. One of the first misconceptions that I would like to clear straight away is that you need to do something big or elaborate to relieve your stress. This is simply not true.
There are so many little things you can do to make sure you are in a positive and relaxed state of mind. These are things that were probably a part of your daily routine until stress took over. It’s time to reintroduce them back into your life and reap the benefits.
1. Be Occupied
You might have heard of the old adage, “An empty mind is the devil’s workshop”. This couldn’t be any truer. If you have lots of free time on your hands, your mind will be more likely to wander around. It will think about everything that is wrong in your life and exaggerate them until you feel totally stressed out. We don’t realize it, but we often make our problems a lot bigger in our minds due to our tendency to overthink.
So, you need to make sure that you are as occupied as possible. This doesn’t mean only spending time on your work. You could do a number of other activities that make you feel calmer or contribute towards your growth. In doing so, not only are you able to ward off negative thoughts, but you are also able to grow as a person.
2. Learn New Things
First, it will keep you busy, and your mind won’t be filled with negative thoughts. Second, as you learn more and more new skills, you will be better positioned (in terms of your career) when things become normal again. You might get promoted and start making more money owing to your increased knowledge and skill set!
3. Playing Hyper Casual Games
Playing video games or hyper casual games on mobile is not only for kids. It is an equally enjoyable activity for adults. These days, you don’t even need a dedicated gaming console to enjoy some really cool video games. Your smartphone is probably more than capable of handling a good game or two. It is a good idea to spend some time gaming every day.
It will be a great stress relief activity and will also serve as a great way to bond with your friends if you play multiplayer games. Plus, did you know that gaming can be beneficial for your cognitive development? Just don’t overdo it and you will be fine!
4. Listening To Music
Who doesn’t love listening to music? Creating and listening to music is inherent in us humans. Scientific studies have proven that music has a tangible effect on our mood and even certain physical phenomena. I am sure you have experienced this for yourself. When you listen to some dance music, you can’t help but shake a leg. When you listen to some sad music, you can’t help but feel a little sad yourself.
So, it only makes sense to use music to make your mood better, to feel calm and relaxed, and to just let go of all the stress and anxiety that you had been holding on to. Music is one of the best escapes known to mankind, and it is a no-brainer to use it that way.
Our findings indicate that music listening impacted the psychobiological stress system. Listening to music prior to a standardized stressor predominantly affected the autonomic nervous system (in terms of a faster recovery), and to a lesser degree the endocrine and psychological stress response. These findings may help better understanding the beneficial effects of music on the human body.
From the research article: The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response
5. Enjoy Some Family Time
Everyone is touched by the coronavirus anxiety and quite often the fear. Quality time spent with your family is one of the best ways to destress yourself. When you are surrounded by people whom you love and who love and care for you, you get a sense of comfort and security. You gain a bigger perspective on what really matters in your life and you’re reminded who you are fighting for.
This is enough to motivate you to not give up. It encourages you to become a stronger version of yourself to deal with life’s many challenges. Also, there are so many ways you can enjoy some family time. You could play board games or video games together, you could cook together, or watch a movie or a tv show! All of these are great ways to share some laughter and lighten up your mood.
6. Practice Meditation
Last but certainly not least, is meditation. There is a reason why this ancient spiritual practice has managed to stick around all this time. It works wonders when it comes to controlling your mind and emotions. Just fifteen minutes of meditation every day can help you relax, and let go of everything that troubles you.
Several studies have shown that meditation, not only has benefits for your emotional and mental well-being but also your physical health. So, you should make it a part of your daily life. You could meditate in the morning or at night, whichever feels more natural. You will see positive changes manifest in your life within a week.
Dealing with coronavirus anxiety and the resulting stress is important but should not be difficult. It’s not the end of the world – always believe that you are strong and have the capabilities of dealing with everything. Just take your time, take a deep breathe often and face everything, but one a time, day by day. Get enough sleep as it is important for proper body functioning, and it will help you handle stress and anxiety better.
Playing music as you drift off at night is one of the best ways to deal with stress by taking your mind off all disturbing issues. Soothing sounds, asmr, soft music helps in slowing down your breathing and sleeping peacefully.