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Don’t Quarantine Your Head!

Dr Keith’s Top 10 Tips On How Not To Quarantine Your Head

The Coronavirus has caused a considerable amount of change in organizations and people across the United States. For many, your life routine has been turned upside down. Working at home, home schooling, lack of external entertainment, and other major changes has caused people to respond with fear, anxiety and other negative feelings.

It is important to keep in mind that experiencing these feelings are normal and even appropriate during these trying times. It is also critically important to recognize there are many situations in life you cannot control; but you do have control on how you react and respond to every situation you encounter.

Before you move on to reading the tips, allow me to share my horoscope that I read by accident (I am not a horoscope believer) this morning in the Detroit Free Press by Holiday Mathis:

Suffering is caused by arguing with reality.  It’s optional, but if you’re going to struggle, it may as well be a fight for something meaningful and pleasant.

The following tips will help you regain a healthier perspective if you are one of the many who are struggling during these difficult and changing times.

 

  1. Manage Your “Stinking-Thinking”
  • Keep in mind, that your thoughts dictate how you feel and respond to (behave) situations that we experience. The Coronavirus probably has created a good deal of anxiety, fear, and stress in many of you. When you feel anxious and stress-out it’s probably due to your stinking-thinking (negative thoughts). These thoughts will cause you to feel miserable. When that occurs, it’s time to reframe your stinking-thinking.

Reframing is the ability to look at a negative situation differently.  Reframing is not a lesson in “positive thinking,” but a technique to re-think the event/situation in a neutral or benign manner.  By doing so, you can move the information to the logical part of the brain, allowing a more rational perspective to emerge.

Coronavirus Example

Stinking-Thinking: I’m going to become sick and die

Feeling: Anxious and scared

Behavior: Constantly watching the news, not sleeping, overeating, etc.

Reframe:

  • I’m in good health and following the CDC’s guidelines to the best of my ability. The majority of the people who become severely ill are people who have a multitude of illnesses they are struggling to manage.
  • I’m going to turn off the news as soon as I am updated
  • I’m going to think about all the people out there who are at high risk and/ or think about the people who do not have the financial means as you do.
  1. Manage Your Changes
  • Like many of you, you are now working from home. On top of it, your children are being schooled at home. This equals to a major change in lifestyle. And, with most change, people tend to resist due to the psychological discomfort. What to do?  First, recognize and embrace that most people resist change because of many reasons. Some of the more common ones include:
    • Perceived threat to job security.
    • Perceived or actual loss of self-esteem, rewards, power, etc. as a result of the change.
    • Change creates a shift your comfort zone. What we habitually do that feels natural and comfortable
    • Change = Loss = Negative feelings. It is important to understand that change come and go. But, it’s the “perceived” losses (the stinking-thinking) that creates you to feel negative.

Second, reframe your stinking-thinking (see number one)

  1. Create and Follow a Routine
  • People feel best with structure and predictability. It is the unknown that creates fear and anxiety for many of you. Create a routine that best resembles your past schedule. For example:
    • Keep your sleep and wake schedule
    • Have meals at the same time
    • Keep your activities on the same schedule (if your gym is closed, change your exercise routine)
    • Keep your children on a school schedule the best you can (i.e. home and studying during school hours)
  1. Manage the News Consumption
  • Keep informed (15-30 minutes a day) as opposed to listening/watching the news for hours. This includes social media, phones.
  • Be sure to get your information from reliable resources. (i.e. CDC, World Health Organization, etc.)
  1. Virtually Connect With Friends and Family
  • When doing so, do not perseverate over the Coronavirus. Remember, feelings are contagious
  1. Strengthen Your Immune System
  • Follow the CDC guidelines
  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule (7-8 hours per night)
  • Limit the amount of sugar and saturated fat (Eat like the “Flintstones”)
  • Move your body and increase your physical activity. There is nothing better than exercise to destress
  • Create an attitude of gratitude
  1. Do Acts of Random Kindness
  • Shop for a senior citizen
  • Give food to a local food bank
  • Any charitable act that will enhance the positive chemicals to be released in the brain
  1. Use Prayer and/or Spirituality
  • The evidence is clear, people who pray or use some form of spirituality, live longer and healthier than people who do not engage in such practices
  1. Go Outside
  • Yes, you need to socially isolate but that does not mean you have to remain in your home. Go for a walk and get some fresh air and sunlight.
  • New research shows that looking and being in nature helps to destress
  1. Rewire Your Brain
  • As you lay in bed at night, think about three positive things that recently happened to you and/or three things you are grateful for. Do not analyze them — just repeat them several times as you fall asleep.

And now it’s time for me to practice what I preach and prepare for my 75-minute walk outside.

To your better health,

Dr. Keith

<a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business”>Business photo created by yanalya – www.freepik.com</a>

 

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