Do you feel like you’re under more pressure than usual? There has been a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide since 2000, according to the World Health Organization.
They describe the main factors as loneliness, concerns about infection, grief, and financial worries. The impact has been especially severe for health care workers, as well as youth and women.
World events are often beyond your control, but you can decide how to react to them.
You can let them overwhelm you, or you can make yourself more resilient.
With a positive attitude and coping skills, you’ll be prepared to thrive during difficult times. Use these suggestions for staying calm and carrying on.
Be proactive. Investing in yourself gives you the strength you need to prevent and manage stress.
Take advantage of these strategies:
1. Exercise regularly. Working out lifts your spirits and boosts your immune system. Find a variety of activities that you enjoy, so you’ll stay consistent. Invite a friend or family member to join you.
2. Eat healthy. A balanced diet gives you energy and stabilizes your blood sugar. Your body may also need extra protein when you’re dealing with chronic stress. Smart choices include lentils, eggs, nuts, fish, and lean meat.
3. Sleep well. Even minor sleep deprivation can have a major impact on your mental health. When disturbing thoughts are disrupting your dreams, try repeating positive affirmations or listing things that you’re grateful for.
4. Simplify your life. It’s difficult to fall asleep when you’ve been rushing around. Shorten your to-do list and evaluate your goals to see if they’re realistic for you.
Monitoring Media Consumption
How do you distinguish between doom scrolling and staying informed? Set your own ground rules for making technology work for you.
Try these tips:
1. Set time limits. Make a contract with yourself to regulate your daily screen time. Apps like Space and Flipd will help you stick to your resolutions. When you’re online, speak kindly and resist the temptation to compare yourself with others.
2. Talk it over. Reaching out to someone you trust might help you see unpleasant news from a different perspective. Maybe you can take constructive action or work on processing your emotions.
3. Find positive sources. Browse around for uplifting stories. Read about medical breakthroughs and neighbors giving back to their communities.
4. Disconnect daily. Designate times each day to shut off your devices. That might include mealtimes and a couple of hours before bed.
Overcoming Emotional Contagion
Collective emotions are a real thing. Feelings and related behaviors can spread from one individual to another.
Learn how to keep depression and anxiety from escalating with these techniques:
1. Increase your awareness. Just knowing that you can be affected by how someone else is feeling is empowering. You can come up with strategies to handle the situation and create more positive influences.
2. Choose your company. Be selective about who you spend time with, especially when you’re feeling down. Hang out with family and friends who demonstrate emotional intelligence and study their example.
3. Offer support. You can still be there for others when they’re struggling, as long as you maintain reasonable boundaries. Encourage them to join you in fun activities. Volunteer your help with household chores and errands.
4. Consider counseling. Sometimes you need more than your own efforts to deal with your emotions. Talking with a therapist could help you change your habits and feel happier. Ask your doctor for a referral or contact reliable organizations like the American Psychological Association.
Facing challenges gives you opportunities to learn and grow. Focus on the things you can control, and keep pursuing your dreams.