SPSCC Counseling Mental Health Tips

Hi I’m Sally and this is Ross. We’re
counselors here at the college and we’re here to talk to you today because we
understand that you’re going through probably a lot of anxiety and worry
right now related to the corona virus and everything that’s happening in the
country right now. When we think of anxiety as counselors we think of it in
two respects: one is below the neck and one is above. It exists in our bodies, our
physiology, muscle tension, things like that and in our heads in terms of worry.
Managing physiology directly is something that we can do but people
don’t think about. One way to do that, and this is supported by research, is to just
change how you’re breathing. Nothing fancy, just slow your breathing down to a
10 second cycle. Five seconds in, five seconds out. Second tip with that
breathing is that you want to do it smooth and evenly, five in five out so
you’re smooth through the cycle. No need to take excessively deep breaths. This,
when hooked up, when people are hooked up to biofeedback equipment very clearly
shows that physiology relaxes for most of us when we do that. The other way that
we tend to experience anxiety besides our body is also in our thoughts where
we’re putting our attention of how we’re thinking and what we’re worried about
ruminating on and research shows that as humans we tend to overestimate how
difficult a circumstance is going to be and then we tend to underestimate our
abilities to cope and adjust and manage through those difficulties. And so with
that in mind professionals, mental health
professionals, right now are recommending that we limit the amount of news that
we’re taking in to just 30 minutes a day. So one way you can do that because it’s
important to be informed and you want information but you don’t want to over
focus on the news in a way that’s gonna add suffering and harm to yourself
unintentionally so one way you can limit news for example is to just set up 15
minutes in the morning to get news through whatever news source you use and
then 15 minutes again in the evening. And just leave it at that and have the rest
of your day be not focused on news sources so instead of focusing on these
moment-to-moment updates with the news what you can do
instead is then focus on connections with family members and friends in your
community so while you’re physically distancing from others, make sure that
you’re socially connected to others as well
and doing that in ways that you’re probably already figuring out at a
distance — through social media video chats, talking on the phone.
Additionally the other thing that you can be thinking about and focusing on is
the resources that you have that you can bring to bear right now in this
situation. Internal resources and external resources. Internal resources
are the qualities and skills that you have as a person that you can bring to
bear to manage and solve any situation in your life. External resources are things in your life that are going to be supportive and helpful
to you — family members, friends, community resources like the food bank, for example.
Additional resources are keeping in mind activities and people that really ground
you and recharge your batteries. And then finally to consider how can you be a
resource for someone else in your family or in your community.
Do you have an elderly relative who needs help getting their medical
prescriptions filled? Do you have a neighbor who’s a single mom with three
kids at home right now? Maybe she needs help getting groceries. It’s through
these things we connect with ourselves and with others that we’re going to be
able to get through this experience with resilience, emotional health and
well-being. We’re here for you and counseling services. We care. Please stay
in touch with us through our web page on the SPSCC website for additional tips,
resources, and ideas. Take good care, be safe and healthy.

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