17 FEB 2020
It’s perfectly normal to feel tense and anxious towards the current situation where there are many uncertainties. Healthy individuals worry about getting infected and falling sick; infected people worry about getting worse or spreading it to family, friends or others. This kind of worry is understandable; though over thinking and over worrying does not help.
Everyone gets anxious sometimes, but chronic and constant worries may interfere with your ability to function and relax. It is detrimental to one’s mental and physical health. Over worrying depletes your energy and exhausts your heart, mind, and soul. It disrupts regular life routine and rhythm, hinders social interaction and worsens the quality of sleep. This starts a cycle of anxiety; if this cycle continues and gets worse, your worrying will become uncontrollable. You can’t relax and stay focused at work and become locked up with all negative thoughts in your head. The physical reactions to these emotional and mental stresses include muscle tension, increased heart rate, excessive sweating, coldness in hands and feet, and many other manifestations of sympathetic overdrive that taxes the body and affect your health.
It may not be worth it to put your health at a disadvantage for a viral infection which you may not acquire.
How do I adjust my internal state to reduce this worrying/anxiety?
Instead of avoiding facing these negative emotions, it is best to acknowledge them, shorten the amount of time spent holding onto them, and move on quickly to problem solving. By facing it, letting it go, and resolving your emotion, you can be strong from inside out and be ready to fight the infection if need be.
Follow these 3 steps to guide you for the whole process:
1. Know the threat, understand the virus
If you know everything the researchers have discovered regarding the virus and how it spreads, then you will know the strategy to fight. Fear largely stems from the unknown too.
What you need is to be disciplined and follow the guidelines strictly to minimize the chances of being infected.
2. Know yourself, understand your body
If you know more about your current health status and your constitution and know how to avoid being infected, then you know the strategy to defend your health.
What you need is to look after your health and cultivate it (养生） so that it is in optimum condition to fight if it has to.
3. After you have understood the enemy and yourself, you just need to be prepared and act appropriately.
*WEAR A MASK AND WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE TOUCHING YOUR FACE.
*EAT WELL, SLEEP WELL, STAY ACTIVE, and UPKEEP MENTAL HEALTH.
Remember to always be mentally and physically strong from inside out, that is the key to winning the war with Covid-19.
What additional things can I do to ease negative emotions?
1. Regulate your breathing
Do diaphragmatic breathing and breathe into the belly.
2. Stay positive
Socialise with family and friends and share your worries and happiness.
3. Look for emotional comfort
It can be a person, a thing, something you do, or comfort food you’ll eat. If needed, consult a doctor or physician to support your health, improve your constitution, and treat any underlying medical conditions you have.
Note: It is especially important to have a strong and positive mind for older adults, sensitive body type or people with a weak health/ constitution. Working on health principles will boost your immunity to fight the virus.
Follow the principle of optimising health cultivation (养生）and you’ll be on the right track.
Any helpful tips from TCM
TCM seeks not only to treat the illness and the body; it also seeks to treat the mind. TCM emphasizes a lot on nurturing good health and cultivating a healthy mind and soul.
Below is the suggested TCM remedy for soothing mind/ heart and boosting immunity against virus:
Raw Astragalus 6g
Kudzu root 3g
Herba Eupatorii 3g
Schisandra (five flavor berry) 2g
Brew 10-15min in 200ml of water, can add sugar or honey for the taste.
We hope that everyone can draw from this positive energy and not be affected by the paranoia surrounding Covid-19. By steadying our internal state we will be able to fight the virus. Cheers!
Authored by Physician PEH 白医师