Experiencing a feeling of fear and anxiety about a disease is always overwhelming and could cause strong emotions for everyone. It is essential to find ways of dealing with stress, which will make us, our families, people who we care about, and our community stronger.
It would be good to add that there is a difference between the pathological depression, and the depressed state of mind, which could be due to several various factors and could last for some time, days or months. These feelings could be experienced by most people in different situations and various difficult phases of life, not necessarily as a sign of illness.
According to Erin Leyba, L.C.S.W., Ph.D., (the author of Joy Fixes for Weary Parents; specializes in relationships, anxiety, grief, and loss); some techniques help to increase our contact with positive, joyful, and rewarding activities in life. It is a way that supports us in 'doing' and 'acting' and helps to brighten the thoughts, raise and elevate our mood, and prevent collapsing into furthermore depression.
Small steps of action
It is essential to choose and have positive actions to take regularly, to improve our mood, and to respect those rules and do them. Often due to stress or various factors, we may feel resistance to engage and to act, although we know that action can be beneficial for us, such as going for a walk or doing some yoga/exercise. However, try to be determined and decisive, and go for it with the knowledge that afterward it will feel good, and you will get a rewarding effect of feeling better. Taking steps prevents you from falling further into depression.
Having regular exercise is undoubtedly beneficial for health, Physical and
Mental. Aerobic activities, gardening, and dancing can help improve mood and reduce anxiety and depression. According to the study mentioned here, improvements in mental health are suggested to be caused by exercise-induced increase in blood circulation to the brain, and therefore an influence on the physiologic reactivity to stress, which controls motivation and mood.
Exercise not only can help reduce stress and depression but also can increase energy and feelings of confidence through distractions from negative thoughts and emotions.
Engage and getting involved
According to James Baraz and Shoshana Alexander from The Greater Good Science Center at the University of Berkeley: A "helpers high" or a distinct physical sensation is associated when we help someone. It makes us feel good, calmer, and less depress when we give, and it also increases our feelings of self-worth.
Try to find something to share with other people, which you like and are passionate about, doing volunteer work, engaging, or helping other people. Altruism will make a big difference to improve our happiness and reduce anxiety/depression. Giving and receiving back the joy from people is like the best recompense to make us feel better in dark times.
Here are some examples of providing support and help to your loved ones, relatives, acquaintances and strangers.
Help elderly, lonely people, or relatives living far away by calling them regularly on the phone, or video chat, and trying to be kind and friendly, and make them feel 'closer.'
Deliver shopping to elderly relatives and neighbors or disable people.
Write postcards to teachers of schools, friends, and people mentioned above.
Say honest and friendly thank-you to workers who are still doing much essential work for our life, such as logistics, security, healthcare, maintenance, and waste management, grocery, and warehouse workers.
Donate money to some organization that you think is doing an essential job in this time of crisis.
Find out information from your local newspapers or council about what volunteer work they would need, which you could do.
Write letters for a political campaign or association that you think they can have a significant impact in this situation of emergency.
There are many ways to improve your mood and make you happy. Try different ways, take steps, and make it an action.
Written by: Mehri Riviere
Photo by: Juha Roisko