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19th March 2020

Stress, Headaches and the Coronavirus

You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t worried or somewhat preoccupied with the pandemic that is sweeping across the globe. Every news bulletin has updates of the latest Coronavirus infection and death rates, however, with little certainty attached to the news stories.

In this post, we are focusing on the secondary effects of the virus on your physical and mental health which could easily be overlooked. The human mind doesn’t like uncertainty. Evolution has taught us to explore possibilities, weigh up decisions and ponder our next move in order to protect ourselves from perceived threats. The difficulty with this is there are few certainties in life and when you can’t resolve things in your mind they can linger and spiral into something that can affect your wellbeing.

The non-stop media cycle, the constancy of social media, and the ways in which our minds work creates a hyper-vigilant state in which our anxiety drives us to seek out more and more information. This, in turn, increases our anxiety in a self-perpetuating cycle that can prove disabling.

Feeling stressed like this for a prolonged period has an impact on your mind and body. According to the mayo clinic stress is the most commonly reported trigger for tension headaches. It is now widely accepted that chronic tension headaches are the result of heightened sensitivity to pain and an over sensitised nervous system. It’s therefore important to remember if you suffer from chronic tension headaches to take the time to relax your body and mind during this stressful period. Here are some ideas and quick techniques to relax your body and mind;

  • Accept you can’t always control and predict the future
  • Consider that there are best and worst likely outcomes as possibilities and that reality will probably sit somewhere between the two. If you think back throughout your life it is quite rare that your worse fears are realised.
  • Remember to breathe naturally. Shallow chest breathing can cause muscles to tighten in your shoulders and neck. Practice belly breathing and gently relax your shoulders.
  • Explore meditation to help your peace of mind and give you some pauses in your thought patterns.
  • Make use of the following Infographic by Molly Bruggeman: 10 Tips to Reduce COVID-19 Anxiety

Finally, remember …

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