Anxiety and stress are natural and healthy responses to uncertainty and perceived danger; there is no reason to be “alarmed” about feeling alarmed!
A normal response to COVID-19 is distress, the Fight Flight or Freeze response (FFF Responses). This occurs in the oldest part of your brain, the limbic system. The amygdala is the key player, a small almond-shaped area in the mid brain that helps you respond to threat. However, it cannot differentiate between real and imagined! So, if you focus on perceived threat, the amygdala will focus on FFF response….and your anxiety will increase! Let’s handle that.
Your nervous system may urge you to hyper focus on the COVID-19. This is a survival strategy directed by your amygdala. Now this is a primitive player in the working of your very sophisticated brain. But this response can take over and if allowed have you obsessing and even hoarding supplies as a survival strategy. Allowing this part of your brain to be in charge is like allowing the least intelligent part of your brain to steer the ship! It will keep you feeling anxious, uncomfortable, and even obsessing and hoarding. It can keep you awake at night, interrupt your diet, increase drug and/or alcohol use and create other destructive coping strategies. And to top it off, with all this work on survival, you will be distracted from your relationships which is one of the places were humans find comfort and calm.
Take some time now to be aware of the state of your mental health. What part of your brain is in charge now. Notice the story in your mind and ask yourself if it’s your amygdala, FFF or are you integrating the COVID-19 information while remaining balanced in your thinking. Now, because this is a moving target keep checking in and respond with compassion no matter where you find yourself.
Here’s a few tips to help you attend to your mental health and foster the wisest part of your brain to be in the driver’s seat!
Be intentional about your mental health. Recognize what you need to maintain your wellness and design your day to nourish your overall health.
When your emotions are overwhelming and don’t respond to self-care or social support, seek professional help. We are here for you with a team of licensed counsellors offering tele-health / virtual counselling.
Heather Bach brings 20 years of experience and training to her role as Clinical Director of the Bach Counselling. With her Master of Arts in Psychology, she is certified with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. Heather works primarily with couples and individuals using evidence-based approaches in dealing with relationship issues, separation, anxiety, depression, trauma, disordered eating, and ADHD.
Heather uses a number of evidence-based tools and techniques to bring her clients closer to their goals.
Solution Focused, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT),
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT),
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT),
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR),
Short-Term Psychodynamic Therapy,
Bowen Family Systems and Process Oriented Jungian Therapy