After a year filled with anxiety and health concerns for many, and dealing with two national lockdowns, it is no surprise that stress, anxiety and depression levels reported were “significantly higher than we normally see in the UK”.
According to the UK COVID-19 Stress and Health Study conducted by the University of Nottingham & Kings College London, the early stages of lockdown resulted in 64% of respondents experiencing symptoms of depression and 57% experiencing anxiety, with women and younger people at particular risk.
Kavita Vedhara, Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Nottingham stated “when we experience stressful situations for protracted periods of time, such as during this pandemic, it can have real implications for our health and wellbeing”. It has also been reported that the stress hormone cortisol may affect COVID recovery, with astudy conducted by Imperial College London finding that “COVID-19 patients with very high levels of the stress hormone cortisol… are more likely to deteriorate quickly and die.”
Amy Crumpton is a certified Neuro-Lingustic Programming (NLP) expert, Mindset Coach, and founder of Social Cactus Social Cactus (social-cactus.com) She is a Positivity Queen, helping other women to operate in a positive self-state and improve wellbeing.
Her stress-busting activities include: Pattern Interrupting. This is an NLP technique where you break your pattern of stressful thought, allowing you to focus on something else instead of the stress trigger. The more this is practiced, the easier it will be.
Tip 1. Move your body
That might be your favourite exercise, a walk, stretching out your body or even a dance party in your kitchen.
Moving your body gets the endorphins flowing, your heart pumping and clears your mind so you feel happier and more positive.
2. Positive affirmations
Focus on the things that you’re doing really well right now, no matter how small those things are — when we take a step back and look at the bigger picture we’re usually doing the absolute best we can at the time. So affirmations such as ‘I’m doing the best I can right now and that’s ok’ can help calm the mind and put us into a more positive state.
3. Breathing exercises
Usually when we are stressed our breathing becomes short and shallow. So if you can feel yourself getting super overwhelmed, stop and take 3 long, deep breaths, or as many as you need until you can feel your mind stop racing and your heart beat slow down.
4. Speak to a friend
Have you ever felt so stressed out, then spoke to a friend and felt instantly better? Often speaking to a friend will have you laughing and joking in no time and get those feel good feelings rocking through your body again.
5. Pattern interrupt
This is an NLP technique which basically means doing something to break your pattern of thought — By breaking your pattern of thought, you will start to focus on something else instead of the thing that is causing you stress — an example might be to think about a time you felt totally relaxed and at ease. Bring up a picture in your kind of the time you felt in control and like you could achieve anything. You will notice the stress disappear.