It is likely you have felt negative emotions and thoughts during the COVID-19 pandemic – know you are definitely not alone in these thoughts and feelings. 

In this video, Dr. Bernadette Melnyk from The Ohio State University simply and clearly breaks down the skills you can build through daily practice to help lower your stress and anxiety. She reminds us that how we think affects how we feel, and how we behave. If you’re thinking negative thoughts, they can lead to negative emotions, and that can result in unhealthy behaviors. But it’s possible to reprogram your brain to think more positively and as a result, feel better.

Negative emotions start with an activating event – it could be something small like spilling your coffee, or something as big as the COVID-19 pandemic. When this happens, you may have a negative thought or belief. Dr. Melnyk describes how to use an approach derived from the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to stop a negative belief when it happens and turn it around into a more helpful thought. You can learn the skills to build optimism and hopeful beliefs just like you learn anything else. 

Daily practices such as monitoring your mood, stopping negative thoughts, saying positive statements about yourself, mindfulness or living in the present, and taking a moment of gratitude are all quick actions that Dr. Melnyk explains can help build hopeful beliefs. She provides great examples of how you can integrate these practices into your daily life, even with the long hours you may be working. 

If you find that your anxiety, stress, and depressive symptoms are interfering with your ability to function at work or outside of work, it’s important to reach out for help.