There is a lot of information swirling around out there at the moment, and it can be easy to get swept along with the tide of panic, or develop your own internal panic, which isn’t a nice feeling, so we thought we’d share a few info nuggets and tips that might help. And what’s really great about them, is that they apply to any scenario that worries you. So have a read and stick them in your toolkit.
Wired for safety
Our brains are designed to keep us safe. When we come into contact with a situation, (or information about a situation), we assess what that means for us and we respond accordingly. If we deem the situation or information to be threatening to us in any way, our brain will send a signal to our nervous system to fire up so that we can survive. A fired-up nervous system feels like panic which doesn’t feel nice at all, but it is a valid response. However, what’s important to look back on is how we assessed the situation, because that’s what sent the signal to the brain in the first place.
When we are in the assessment phase, we need facts. Find reliable sources with truthful and professional information. Did you look for all the facts, or was it hearsay? Did you ask questions to clear up any uncertainty? Did you Google it?! Did you jump on social media and come across scare-posts? The information we take in will directly affect our response. Some of the sources we’re relying on at the moment are Dr. Doireann O’Leary (who provides daily Instagram updates on all things health related!), the HSE website, and WHO.
Notice your breath. Is it shallow; high up in your chest/collar bone area? Or is it deeper; rib-cage area? Or deeper still, in the tummy? Shallow breathing engages the nervous system. Deep breathing, disengages the nervous system and allows us to relax. That’s why everyone says “take a deep breath”, because it really does work! Take 2-3 minutes, put both feet on the ground, close down your eyes, and direct your breath, fully in, and fully out, and feel the panic start to melt away. When we direct our breath, we can direct our mind.
Irrational to rational
When we are in a state of panic or anxiety, the brain is in an irrational place and we’re not able to make clear decisions. Along with deep-breathing, there is another way that we can move our brains from irrational, back to rational again; by doing something with our hands. This is a proven method and you don’t have to be an artist! Here’s some suggestions; jigsaws, crosswords, bracelet-making, baking, sketching, writing, knitting, colouring, scrap-booking, playing with a pet, playing an instrument, and the list goes on. Find what works for you and share any ideas you have!
Help & Seek Help
If you find that you are panicking, find someone who isn’t. We often seek out people who are responding in the same way as us but if you want to reduce panic, find someone who looks calm. And if you’re the person who’s calm, find someone who might be panicking and help them. We’re all in this thing together 💙
This post was written by our go-to professional, Steph, who always provides a voice of calm when we need it most.
Don’t forget also that we have created a lovely Calm Playlist, just for you. Follow it here. xx