I want to check in and see how you are doing.
Yes. It’s a confusing and scary time with many unknowns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. As humans we like to be in control; we prefer to be in the know. When we’re not, our worry, anxiety, and stress levels rise.
How are you responding to and coping with the current state of the world?
Is your worry of the unknown causing you undue anxiety? Or are you maintaining an informed and cautious, yet calm, sense of well-being. Are you using this time to focus on your mental, physical, and emotional health, connecting with yourself and your needs? Are you connecting with loved ones?
News and social media reporting is overwhelmingly contributing to our stress.
What’s beautiful though, is a coming together of love and support over social media. People are offering helpful ways to manage anxiety, sharing tips for how to stay prepared while staying calm and providing suggestions for how to boost your immune system and more.
One of the best things you can do for your health, at any time, is to get good sleep.
Your body needs adequate, consistent sleep in order to heal, detox, restore, repair, fight off illness, and support and strengthen the immune system.
When you don't get enough sleep, your body boosts its levels of stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine). The brain chemicals connected with deep sleep are the same ones that tell the body to stop the production of stress hormones.
But what happens if your worry, stress, and anxiety are keeping you from sleeping?
The reality is, it’s a two-way street: worry, stress, and anxiety can lead to poor sleep and poor sleep can trigger worry, stress, and anxiety.
There’s an interesting article in the New York Times: Stress, Worry and Anxiety Are All Different. How Do You Cope With Each?
Let’s take a look at what each of these means:
Worry is what happens when your mind dwells on negative thoughts, uncertain outcomes or things that could go wrong.
Stress is a physiological response connected to an external event.
If stress and worry are the symptoms, anxiety is the culmination.
When you take time to observe and understand how you personally relate to and deal with worry, stress, and anxiety, then you can begin to adjust your thoughts and mindset to help yourself shift to a calmer state of acceptance of what you have control over and what you don’t.
When you choose to observe your thoughts with non-judgement, you can begin to better support yourself with compassion. You can shift your mindset and you can help reduce worry, stress, and anxiety in your life.
While you can’t control what’s going on in the world, there’s one thing you can control: YOUR THOUGHTS and HOW YOU RESPOND TO THE UNCERTAINTY.
And it’s at night, you may find it most difficult to control your thoughts; when it’s quiet, and you’ve settled in, ready to fall asleep, your mind decides to activate.
Bedtime offers an opportunity to focus on and shift those thoughts. It is a perfect time to implement a breathing or meditation practice with the goal of calming and shifting your thoughts to help you relax and fall asleep.
Deep breathing is a powerful way to lower stress in your body, mind, and spirit. Deep breathing helps calm and slow down the emotional turbulence in your mind. Taking long deep breaths activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax; your thoughts and emotions have a corresponding reaction with your breath. It’s amazing how you can change how you feel, simply by changing the pattern of your breath.
Another technique to help getting a good night’s sleep and shifting your thoughts is meditation. I love guided meditation because you don’t need to know how to meditate. All that’s required is that you listen. Guided meditations can be found on YouTube, Spodify, Yoga studios, and more.
Breathwork and meditation help calm and move you towards a more relaxed state, which, in turn, will help you get a good night’s sleep.
And we all need more of that right now!
Remember, breathing and meditation are FREE and available to everyone!
March 17, 2020