A healthy mind is a healthy body! Strategies to make your mind calm in the new normal Covid Scenario
Updated: Aug 15, 2020
Deepika Chalasani, best nutritionist in Hyderabad, Clinical Nutritionist, Mind & Body Transformation Coach shares her views.
The World has changed. The new normal environment that we are living because of the pandemic Covid 19 is is an environment that nobody imagined or envisaged. 2020 will remain to be a landmark year of sorts, for most of us and definitely not a very pleasant one.
For humans, elements and emotions like pleasure, comfort, familiarity, certainty, expression, satiety, validation, acknowledgment, sense of achievement are few anchors that aids in ensuring sanity, internal harmony and mental balance.
Virginia Satir, a legendry psychotherapist and family counsellor once mentioned, for human beings, familiarity and certainty is the most basic instinct & most people prefer death to change. This may seem a very strong statement, however the fact is that for most of us “change is very stressful”. There are however a few coping mechanisms that we could look to use to deal with change with minimal stress. Firstly, wherever possible, look to take small incremental baby steps every day towards a larger goal. Taking small steps in the right direction not only reduces the stress but also helps you achieve the desired change with minimal stress in the long term. Secondly, it helps to constantly remind yourself of the benefits of the change and the the value this change will bring to you in the long term. Thirdly, looking at the glass half full rather than half empty helps greatly to put yourself in a positive frame of mind. Happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine are released when you are in a positive frame of mind.
Humans intrinsically are social beings, and In the new normal, post Covid, many opportunities for pleasure like socializing and enjoying a meal with friends and family, occasions to express oneself like receiving and give a hug, validation and acknowledgement from near and dear ones that helps to increase a sense of self worth which, was normal and a regular way of living has now, become a distant reality. These emotions when exchanged transmits a lot of positive vibes and transfer a lot of positive energy between people. Alternate ways, you can look to get similar levels of pleasure without compromising on safety during the Covid new normal scenario, are to take out time to connect with some near and dear ones who will not judge you and your vulnerabilities. One video call for 30 minutes in a day will give you a lot of positive vibes. We may not be able to give and receive a physical hug but we can do so energetically too which, also can help us experience similar levels of comfort. Take out some time; about 30 – 45 minutes in a day to do some activity that is a stress buster for e.g., cooking / dancing / writing / listening to music / watching some stand-up comedy show. This calms the body down immensely and is also a great way to increase positivity in your life. You can also pamper yourself and your body by indulging in some home body therapies. You could also participate in virtual parties, which allows you dress, get opportunities to acknowledge and appreciate others. Finally, indulging in laughter therapies are also fantastic ways to increase your happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine.
Why is it so important to have a calm & healthy mind, internal harmony and mental balance and how does it connect to physical health and a healthy body? Every time, we resist change or are in a stress zone, or are anxious; our body experiences intermittent stress. Intermittent stress is nothing but small episodes of stress which cause a lot of damage to the body. When the body experiences intermittent stress, immunity levels go down by 40% – 50%, the enzymatic production that aids in digestion goes down by 40%; the absorption of nutrients reduce drastically., which means that you could be eating the healthiest foods but you would not experience the benefits of it. The hormonal functions in the body also get impaired. Intermittent stress increases the production of cortisol (the stress hormone) which, is linked directly to the master hormone insulin. Insulin gets over active, which leads to increased sugar levels, reduced fat metabolism, cravings, emotional eating, nibbling, increased smoking etc. This makes us gain weight and increase the pre-disposition to metabolic disorders like diabetes, fatty liver, BP, cholesterol, PCOD, etc.
Also what is important to understand regarding the functioning of our brain is that, imagined stress is the same as actual stress. So physically seeing a tiger in front of you and imagining a tiger in your head produces the same level of stress hormones. Which simply means, the way I look at a situation, how I create it in my head and the manner in which I react to the situation defines the production of stress hormones. So ways to reduce the release of the stress hormones is to look at the situation objectively without the lens of the filters and limiting beliefs that we grow up with. Some tools to help us reduce the filters are “being in the question”, looking at the situation from a third person, being in the present and mindfulness. Mediation, guided meditation, pranayama and breathing techniques can also aid in reducing anxiety, intermittent stress as well improving the presence of mind.
“Life is not the way it's supposed to be, it's the way it is. The way you cope with that is what makes the difference”. Virginia Satir Deepika Chalasani is a Clinical Nutritionist, Mind and Body Transformation Coach and co-founder of Fit4Life India, an integrated nutrition and wellness organisation for Indians that provides complete solutions, addressing health and wellness challenges of individuals by working on their overall well being. Deepika, Nutritionist in Hyderabad, India, online dietician in Hyderabad can be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org or Mobile +91 94910 11202.