Our news feed has been occupied by COVID-19 for the last four months. Honestly, I feel like the amount of negativity and stress this year has already been more than all those years combined before the outbreak.
When the virus started circulating in my city, I could feel my heart racing when learning that the number of new cases doubled in a day. The more news I consumed, the more I was feeling overwhelmed.
Some people may say: “The curve is already flattening and the virus will pass eventually.” But for some of us, this is only the beginning of a nightmare.
I developed a mental health disorder called “hypochondria” years ago. It is when someone lives with the distressing belief that they have a critical, yet undiagnosed medical condition. It’s like having a ticking bomb somewhere in the body. Hypochondriac people get exhausted fearing and finding the bomb, which only really exists in the mind.
I feared cancer, autoimmune diseases, genetic disorders, and many more. Health checks, doctor visits, and the internet would give me tremendous stress as I believed that sooner or later, I would be diagnosed with a deadly disease. Every time, medical checks turned out fine, but I wish that they could find out what’s wrong with me.
Because of COVID-19, my overthinking brain and oversensitive heart raced to put myself in the worst situation again. I believed that I could be unlucky enough to catch the virus and not wake up from it.
But I am not alone. Hypochondria affects 5% of the medical care cases and 200,000 people every year. It could be triggered by a health trauma or family loss to a serious illness. In addition, the internet often makes the problem worse as hypochondriacs would constantly research symptoms online and fit themselves into various diagnoses.
So yes, the virus may pass. But it could be a traumatic experience that paves the way for hypochondria and other mental health problems. For people who already struggle with mental health, COVID-19 may push negative thoughts to the extreme.
Unfortunately, many doctors and even close family will not understand what you may be going through mentally. It’s easy to feel lonely in this battle but we need to love ourselves. Don’t indulge yourself in unhealthy “de-stressing” habits like excessive eating, alcohol, drugs, and social media.
Use these lifestyle tips to rewire your brain:
Go on a news diet
Not all news is good for you and it can be addictive! Logan Jones is a psychologist who explained that
“Unfortunately, a lot of the news we consume today isn’t so much reporting as it is a way of keeping people addicted to the news cycle.”
News is never unbiased because our brain is hardwired to pay more attention to information that scares us. Humans are naturally risk-averse and have a negativity bias. Therefore, when we expose ourselves to constant negative emotions and information, the body releases stress hormones that can lead to long-term mental health problems like depression. At the same time, physical health suffers as people with depression are also 37% more likely to develop autoimmune disorders like psoriatic arthritis.
So don’t fall into the trap of negativity-infused news cycles. Go on a news diet to only a few updates each week.
De-clutter and nourish your mind
Your mind is probably already over-filled with mental garbage from the past few months and years. It’s time to de-clutter and make room for more positive thoughts!
There are many mindfulness practices that you could try to improve your mental health:
Practice gratitude and share 10 things that you are grateful for with your friends or family
Begin every day with deep breathing, some gentle stretches, and a healthy breakfast
Take breaks throughout your day, eat healthy, and get some sunlight
Use a few minutes every evening to meditate and write your journal
Find a hobby or a passion that can keep you motivated
The list goes on, mindfulness is not about religiously following daily rituals but taking intentional action to love yourself. Recognize when there is too much “junk” on your mind and de-clutter a little. Give your mind constant nourishment in the form of praise, social connections, and relaxation therapies.
Build stronger health
Last but not the least, taking care of your physical health is also important as your body and mind are always connected.
Scientists have shown that the “gut-brain connection” is a key regulator of our physical and mental health. This means that what we put into the stomach and the mind can influence each other. For example, people who consume a modern-day diet filled with sugar, fat, and additives have a weaker gut barrier. This causes the gut to be “leaky” and welcoming for disease-causing germs. These changes are also linked to higher stress hormone levels, anxiety and other mental concerns.
To build stronger health, it is essential that you eat a variety of foods in their natural form rather than processed and packaged. It’s not the carbs or proteins that matter the most, but micronutrients.
Ask yourself: are you getting enough fiber, vitamins, and minerals?
For most people, the answer is probably NO. Processed food and micronutrient deficiency are serious modern problems that we face.
Nature has blessed us with so many health-promoting elements, and you only need to make a few good choices. For me personally, learning the benefits of shilajit was a game-changer as I always struggled to stay on top of my vitamins and minerals. Compared to a synthetic multi-vitamin that is not necessarily safe, according to science, getting micronutrients from a natural compound used by Himalayans since ancient times is much more promising.
In closing, it’s completely understandable if you are feeling overwhelmed right now. We live in a modern age filled with stress and unhealthy choices. The media, food, and recreational industries are all contributing to an unhealthy lifestyle. But remember, you always have the ultimate power to love your body!
I am a holistic health expert from Siberia. Ayurveda, yoga, and shilajit are the main areas of my knowledge. Deeply intuitive, I find that true healing surpasses the boundaries of the physical body and embraces the emotional, energetic, and subtlest layers of our being. I help people to know how to be healthy and beautiful using only natural remedies. I believe that nature is the best source of human health. Facebook profile here.