10 ways to help with anxiety and control your emotions during covid-19

Guest article by Antonia Harman

We all get a little anxious and overwhelmed at times. Here are my 10 top tips to prevent emotional overload and to handle it when it does inevitably strike.

Preparation is key

1) Meditate

The easiest time to meditate is as soon as you wake. The more centred and present you are the less likely you are to lose your rag. Start your day with a morning meditation. Connect to yourself. If you are new to meditation, or unsure what to do YouTube has a veritable cornucopia of guided meditations to start you off. Have one pre-loaded on your phone and start with 5-10 minutes each day for a week and see how you feel, even that will make a difference. Ideally you should mediate for at least 20 minutes a day.

“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”

Dr. Sukhraj Dhillon

2) Journaling

Journaling has gained popularity in recent years there are several ways to do it. The traditional one is to simply write down what happened in your day. This allows you to understand more fully your own and others actions. It gives you the time and space to unravel your behaviour and reactions. You can be your own therapist. These days you can buy journals to fill in, to have a level of accountability around actions and goals. They may also help you to increase productivity?

3) Forest Bathing

Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing was coined by the Japanese in the 80’s. It is simply walking in the woods in a mindful way, i.e. don’t spend the whole time on your phone, chatting or taking selfies. Connecting with nature is good for the soul. It relaxes and calms us. Gardening does much the same thing as we are touching and connecting to the earth.

4) Grounding

Grounding is literally putting your feet on the natural ground, grass works very well, as does the beach especially if you have the waves lapping around your toes. That gives an additional dimension to your grounding as you have salt water which is a super conductor enhancing your experience. Avoid tarmac and manmade surfaces. The science says that the negative ions from the earth transfer into our bodies and elevate our mood. If you are unable to get outside much or it’s simply too chilly grounding mats / sheets are available, they connect to the earthing part of electrical sockets and work in much the same way.

5) Yoga /Exercise

Yoga works to slow you down and calm you, you feel at peace after a session. My favourite is to combine it with a steam/ sauna post yoga. I come out of there feeling totally euphoric. All exercise is good for your mental health as it gets you moving and clears stagnation. Many people like hitting a bag, or a ball, others prefer running, dancing or cycling etc. Do whatever you enjoy. If you enjoy it, you are far more likely to stick with it. You will look forward to it and have fun rather than it being a drag. It is a great way to release and pent up anger or upset. Again, if you can finish a session with a sauna/ steam all the better as that is deeply relaxing, maybe even throw in the occasional massage? The less stress and tension you have in your body the better your mood will be and the less prone you will be to anxiety et al.

6) Sunshine

I am a great believer in the cathartic, healing abilities of the great ball of fire in the sky. It provides us with vitamins and nourishment. If you want to take it one step further why not try Sun Gazing? This is looking the sun at sun rise or sun set, other times can of course damage your retina. This will really help to elevate your mood and calm you down.

When anxiety / heightened emotions strike

7) Breathe

I know it sounds simple and obvious but breathing when you start to feel overwhelmed is one of the best tools in the book. Anxiety often causes an elevated heart rate and shortness of breath, so breathing really does help to steady you.

One simple technique is to:-

a) Exhale deeply and loudly through the mouth for 8 seconds

b) Inhale deeply through the nose for 4 seconds

c) Hold your breath for 7 seconds

d) Repeat until you have calmed down.

8) Remember it is not the end of the world.

When something sudden or upsetting happens, we can exaggerate it internally. A good way to look at it is to think whether we would still be upset about the situation in a year from now? If not, then maybe it is not worth the panic?

 “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff It’s all Small Stuff”

Robert Eliot

Bedtime

9) Gratitude

Time to pull out that journal again and write a few sentences on what you are grateful for. If you prefer not to write you can simply list them in your head. Was anyone kind to you that day? Are you grateful for friends, family, pets? Do you have a roof over your head and food on your table? Good health? We may take these things for granted but what we have and moan about many people especially from the developing world would give their right arm for. There is always something to be grateful for.

10) Setting Intentions

As you are drifting off set intentions for the next day. Sometimes when we go to sleep we can fret about what did or may happen. Avoid doing that if you can and instead set positive intentions. You can start with little things like “tomorrow I will wake up with loads of energy” “I am going to have a great day” “my meeting or presentation will go brilliantly” “my day will run smoothly” “I will get through my to-do list tomorrow”. Whatever fits into your next day. Give it a go will be surprised how much of a difference intention setting will make.

Antonia Harman is a renowned emotional trauma expert and healer. Head to https://divineempowerment.co.uk to learn more about how to emotionally heal with Antonia. 

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