Today I received a letter from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Yes, I know, it is incredible! I turned the news on and heard he spent last night in ICU.
These are unprecedented time! Truly historic – our world has changed drastically. Now we live in a different reality and it happened overnight.
No wonder we are overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. I can’t tell which is more challenging: all the surrounding panic and shock from a deadly virus, the isolation, the abrupt change of my lifestyle or the unpredictability – when will all this end and how will it affect us.
I keep asking myself questions - OK, we are stressed but why or
IS IT REALLY THAT SERIOUS?
For a while I just thought this is another one like the bird flu, the swine flu etc. created threats. But then I tried to order food and most of my delivery didn’t arrive.
It seems that, yes, it is serious. It is actually traumatic. If you think I am exaggerating here is the definition how you get traumatized*:
- when you feel helpless ( nothing you can do to change the situation)
- and there is a threat to your survival (whether real or perceived threat)
Does this ring a bell for you?
Do you feel there is nothing you can do to change your situation?
Is your livelihood threatened?
Maybe even you know someone who got ill and can’t even think what would be if you got ill, perish this thought…
In many ways the lock-down to prevent the spread of the virus made us prisoners in our own homes. It may not be as bad as being in actual prison however it is not a holiday break either. Being trapped at home while bombarded by scary news and videos of death toll aggravates the perception of threat for our lives. We can’t find comfort in a friend’s hug any more because of the social distancing and any mood boosting activities like art performances, fitness clubs, church services or visits to the pubs are no longer available. Staying at home means that your boundaries are being challenged by the other family members who may happen to be young children fed up staying indoors.
There is a lot of mental pressure going on right now. Let me explain: we are in shock from the abrupt change in the world where our basic needs like security, stability and predictability are not met. And it feels uncomfortable to say the least. At the beginning I noticed that there a lot of areas that that aroused my anxiety and if I focused on them I felt even more anxious. So I avoided thinking about what will happen if the shops get empty and I don’t have any reserves in my fridge, how am I going to manage with the money (that was a big one), how am I going to work – when, how, where, what if I get ill my lungs won’t make it etc. My body and mind were sensing
Mother Nature had equipped us with a survival mechanism wired in our instincts. When threatened a part of our reptilian brain called amygdala takes the control of our body in order to prepare us for fight, flight, freeze or flop. Through evolution the response time had shortened to become instant and automatic. It instructs the secretion of cortisol and adrenaline which in turn trigger other strong bodily responses.
The amygdala is our alarm system. Do you consider what colour to wear when going on the way out of your burning home? This is your primitive brain that we share with other mammals. So it means instinctive reaction before you can think like a human and make decisions.
If you have been acting in a more unusual manner or more irritably lately (perhaps a family member had)
BE KIND TO YOURSELF – YOU HAVE BEEN TRAUMATIZED
All your instincts have been screaming to do something while you are being trapped in isolation helpless to protect yourself. Your increased anxiety has a rational explanation so have all these overwhelming emotions. The uncertainty how this is going to end just adds more fuel to the stress. But the stress is real and no one can talk you out of your reaction. The fear for survival in palpable and everyone shares it – consciously or not.
You have self-isolated, you have put all the protective gear, washed your hands thousands of time and yet the conflict between the rational thinking and your instincts is still there.
For those of you who are
- consciously aware of their stress and anxiety and
- want to get it in shape and
- restore their normal peace and calm
I have prepared this very simple to follow EFT class. EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is tapping on 14 bio-active points on the body (acupuncture points) while experiencing a negative feeling or physical discomfort. Scientific research and more than 100 validated clinical trials from the past 10 years report significant psychological as well as physiological effects lasting over time with bio-markers of hormones and genes being regulated. The most important scientific fact is that
EFT CALMS DOWN THE AMYGDALA
When we do EFT the tapping stimulates the acupoints which calms down the amygdala. Now that the primitive brain’s survival mechanism has been switched off, the brain can start learning again. The rational thinking has been restored and it can install a new neural programme in the brain. So by altering the survival-instinct mechanism of the brain EFT re-programmes the brain’s learning, a feature that is not available for other modalities.
Under stress our pre-frontal cortex, which is in charge of the rational thinking, shuts down. The body as being flooded by adrenaline and cortisol prepares for flight or fight and not for admiring the sunshine or planning the next year budget. Hopefully, tapping can change this.
I don’t have a magic wand that I’ll wave and make this situation disappear. Neither have you. However you’ll feel totally different after the class, your rational thinking and creative mind will be able to kick in with fresh ideas and remembered resources, your confidence will be boosted to help you deal with your particular situation. Remember, it is you who are in charge of your particular circumstances and only you can change them. EFT will help you being present, calm and thinking clearly – it will open your mind to possibilities and solutions and boost your creativity. In these unprecedented times old strategies don’t work so welcome to our new ways of thinking.