Dr. Arif Maghribi Khan

Covid-19: Precautions, not anxiety, is the answer

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Before starting this article I would like to remind all that please do not discontinue your treatment of other disorders like tuberculosis, diabetes or hypertension. If your sugar level and blood pressure remains under control, your chances of getting infected with corona virus are significantly reduced.

One of the most important impacts of CORONA VIRUS has been how it has stressed us all in one way or the other. Many surveys done before this pandemic by various organizations have shown people in Kashmir are already stressed. The pandemic has increased the levels of stress and the anxiety related to the virus is as deadly for human health as the virus itself.

One of the predominant features of stress is anxiety which manifests itself in many symptoms like breathlessness, heart palpitations, excessive sweating, fear of possible death and low quality sleep.

It’s always better to know why we get anxious or get entangled in negative thoughts.  Firstly ask yourself a question, before Covid pandemic if someone would eat junk food in breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 10 days, how will stomach react? Even before 10 days were completed, any person doing so would develop severe stomach problems and would need hospitalization, right? Now let’s ask ourselves one more question, how do we spend our day from morning to bed time amid pandemic?  Let me tell you how most people spend their days!

Morning, even before breakfast, we check messages on our WhatsApp or other social networking sites and what we read is number of people infected or died due to Corona infection. Or we watch pictures of patients, whose lives have been claimed by the virus, being buried.  Sometimes we read various newspapers or watch TV channels. Again information is same – Covid related deaths, or number of patients. In the morning, the absorption power of our brain is the maximum and at that time we feed it with negative information of all kinds.

Any way this negative feeding of our brain continues till bedtime. If so much of negative information is fed to our brain, why do we expect our mind to remain happy and have positive thoughts? So now question is how to start our day till we go to sleep?

Preferably start your mornings or day by offering prayers, if that is not possible, read translation of your holy book for 10 minutes, now even if this is not possible start with reading positive quotations or talking with your family about good things in life. Nobody is saying that do not read newspapers or watch TV, what is recommended is negative information should not fill your brain whenever you start your day. You can watch TV later. After all if vaccine is discovered or Corona Virus, you also will get to know, you will not be left out.

Also during the day do spend few minutes on maintaining a GRATITUDE JOURNAL where you write blessings of God on you in past and your achievements in life. Do not forget activities like painting, gardening etc. Anxiety is to be kept at bay. I ask myself how many times I was anxious in life! You can ask yourselves too. In my case out of 1000 anxious thoughts, 999 were proven to be false in due time and may be once it came true. Many say anxiety is good as anxiety or anger may heighten your attention. But it results in physical and mental exhaustion and over the time will end in burnout. And if in childhood you start with bit of anxiety, who knows when you are young it might transform into a full blown anxiety disorder?

Yes, if you feel you or your loved ones might have Covid-19 infection, better consult doctor or avail help of many free helplines. Treat COVID infection just like a kidney stone, rather than thinking day and night about it which will yield nothing. Do what you do in case of some other disease. Ask for help.

We also must realise what is under our control and what is not. We have been given three golden rules which are our under control and can be followed easily – Wearing a mask; keep social distance; washing hands frequently.

Invention of a new vaccine is not under our control, so why loose our energy over it and become prey to various types of stress disorders. Let’s work and spend our energy on what we can control.

Follow these steps to exercise self-control and experience well-being and hence reduce anxiety.

  1. Self-control is a strength you can cultivate by exercising it in simple scenes of life.
  2. During meditation, watch your thoughts. It helps to control your mind and create a beautiful relationship with it.
  3. Choose a powerful and right response in every situation, instead of automatic, habitual reactions. Awareness of having options and making choices increases self-control.
  4. Stick to your values and principles. Use them fearlessly with everyone and in every situation. For example, admit to your mistake and apologize even if it will have a serious consequence. Likewise, obey traffic rules even if you are the only one on the road.
  5. Choose purity in everything you read, watch, listen and talk. Follow principles of right eating and drinking, without giving in to temptations. Do what is right and healthy for you, without seeking public approval.

– Writer can be reached at arifmaghribi@yahoo.com

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