During unprecedented times, the uncertainty of the future leads to greater stress and feelings of overwhelmed emotions. A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 31 percent of older adults feel that pandemic-induced stress had a negative impact on their health1. There is also an additional higher risk of mental health issues due to loneliness and bereavement. However, we can alleviate anxiety through healthy coping mechanisms.
Here are a few techniques to add to your day to help maintain a healthy mind and promote relaxation. Visit clevercarehealthplan.com for more ways to incorporate other Eastern wellness therapies to manage your overall health.
It is important to do deep breathing exercises for at least five minutes when you wake up. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to the brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. It can also slow the heartbeat and stabilize blood pressure.
Listening to ambient sounds decrease stress levels. Research has shown that when a person listens to nature sounds, the brain connectivity reflects an outward attention focus2. The body naturally relaxes, which is why some studies show an increase in quality of sleep. An example is the relaxed sensation when you go for a walk or go on a trip to a national park. People label this sensation as feeling “rejuvenated” or “recharged”. Also, yoga instructors or massage therapists play nature sounds in the background when providing services. A study on stress recovery showed more effective recovery using nature sounds than soft noises or ambient noises3.
Emotional Freedom Technique is an energy healing technique rooted in psychological acupressure that helps relieve stress-inducing pressure points4. It is a combination of light finger tapping on certain areas of the face and upper body to send electromagnetic energy flowing through the body, similar to the benefits of acupuncture. You can start by tapping on your collar bone, under the arm, and wrist area.
Taking steps to take care of yourself are positive steps to decreasing stress. These can include exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced meal, writing in a journal, or getting plenty of sleep. It is highly recommended to avoid excessive alcohol and drug usage.
Studies have shown that by showing kindness to others lower stress levels and increase happiness. Some examples could be donating good or sharing words of encouragement. Simple acts of kindness help improve overall wellbeing not just for yourself, but to others around you.