Word-Of-the-Week #849: Hope

November 12, 2020 by  

Hopethe feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out well.

Have you been able to feel some hope this year? Do you believe that even in this terrible pandemic good things have come out of it?

This week I am sharing excerpts from “Emotional Well-Being and Coping During COVID-19

“These are unprecedented times. We need to work extra hard to manage our emotions well. Expect to have a lot of mixed feelings. Naturally we feel anxiety, and maybe waves of panic, particularly when seeing new headlines. An article by stress scientist and Vice Chair of Adult Psychology Elissa Epel, PhD, outlines the psychology behind the COVID-19 panic response and how we can try to make the best of this situation. Her tips can be found below. 

Our anxiety is helping us cope, bond together from a physical distance, and slow the spread of the virus. So our anxiety – while uncomfortable – is a good thing right now, especially if we manage it well. At the same time, we must effortfully prevent panic contagion and create periods when we can be screen-free and calm, engaging our attention in normal daily activities. Seize opportunities to share lightness and humor. Laughter right now is a relief for all of us!

 It may be helpful for you to make a list of what you can and cannot control right now. In this guide, we suggest radical acceptance of the situations we cannot control and focus on what we can do. 

  • Stay physically safe from the virus 

In this case, the biggest safety behaviors (physical distancing and hand washing) which decrease transmission of the COVID-19 virus, are also an integral part of anxiety management. Stay home when you can. When outside the home, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. 

  • Limit media to reduce anxiety

By now you have heard this recommendation many times and there is research behind it: Watching or scrolling through the media makes us even more anxious. An excess of news and visual images about a traumatic event can create symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and poor health years later, according to research by UC Irvine’s Roxy Silver, PhD, and others. 

Try to limit COVID-19 media exposure to no more than twice a day (e.g., checking for updates in the morning and before dinner) and try to avoid reading about COVID-19 before bedtime. Take a vow to not forward (and thus propagate) alarming headlines to friends and family. 

The media often creates an exaggerated impression of global panic. The reality emerging from research data in Seattle, an epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., is that most people are dealing with this very well and rising up to help others. 

  • Get and provide warm, comforting, social support by video, phone, or text 

This is critical! Taking time to share your feelings and to listen and support others will go a long way. Talking with others who have our best interests at heart makes us feel safe. Use phone, video, text, or email. Fortunately, these new highways of social contact are unlimited resources. More than just providing social support about the current crisis, it is a good idea to use these connections to talk about the things you normally would – host your book club online, for example – which can create feelings of connectedness. Loving and caring for our pets can be phenomenal stress reduction for us too! 

  • Find ways of expressing kindness, patience, and compassion 

Be extra kind to yourself. This is a hard time for everyone. Humans across the world are sharing this experience with you. We are all in this together and we may all emerge with a renewed appreciation for our interconnectedness. Helping others in need is both critical to get through this well, and also creates more purpose to our days and well-being. 

  • Create new routines and keep practicing health behaviors 

Routine and ritual are restorative to us. Our brain wants predictable activity so we can relax our vigilant nervous system. Go to bed early and go outside each day to be active. (More information about sleep and activity is available below.) Remember that our activities, thoughts, and mood are closely linked. If you want to change your mood, change your activities and/or your thoughts. 

  • Eat well 

Good nutrition helps our mood. Stress makes us seek comfort foods, and in turn high carbs and sugars impact our mood. Many population-based studies show that a Mediterranean diet has been linked to better mental health and stress resilience, whereas a junk food western diet is linked to depression and anxiety. Try to fill your home with fresh produce, frozen vegetables, and whole foods when possible.”

This week’s focus is on feeling hope. Are you giving and receiving warm, comforting social support? Are you being extra kind to yourself and practicing healthy habits? Anyone find it interesting that I picked this word this week? I don’t know about you but I’m already feeling so much more hope!

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

 

Comments

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!