With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are living through a world crisis the likes of which hasn’t been seen in 100 years.
The enormous scale of the crisis and the impact it is having are naturally causing a lot of fear, uncertainty and anxiety across the globe. Add social isolation, disrupted work and family routines, cabin fever and economic instability, and it is understandable that our mental health is suffering. In a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45% of adults feel that worry and stress related to coronavirus has had a negative impact on their mental health.
Your nervous system isn’t very good at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. If you’re super stressed over an argument with a friend, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if you’re facing a true life-or-death situation. And the more your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger, making it harder to shut off.
If you tend to get stressed out frequently, like many of us in today’s COVID-19 pandemic world, your body may exist in a heightened state of stress most of the time. And that can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
The COVID-19 situation is particularly stressful because it’s hard to predict how things will develop, and our circumstances are changing rapidly. This can leave us feeling powerless, like we’re no longer in control of our own lives. As is the case in many