Most people seem to have a short fuse these days, and it’s no surprise why. Psychologist Jelena Kecmanovic explained to the Washington Post how the pandemic can trigger stress responses in the form of sleeplessness, difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, as well as irritability and anger. This is mostly due to a combination of cabin fever and anxiety, causing friction in our relationships when we need to rely on them most. Fortunately, there are various ways we can actively #keepacoolhead both inside and out.
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Here are four tips you can practice daily to stay mentally calm and physically relaxed:
Use the 4-7-8 breathing method
To keep a cool head, you have to find a technique that will immediately help you deescalate and relax. The 4-7-8 form of rhythmic breathing was developed by Dr. Weil at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine . It involves inhaling for four seconds, holding the breath for seven seconds, and then exhaling for a sustained eight seconds. Such breathing techniques can encourage relaxation. When you feel yourself getting excited or angry, start with the first breath, then repeat three to four times or until you feel calm.
Practice calming scripts
Having a few scripts ready when your anger or irritability flares up can help you keep a cool head. it's best to put these in place when you’re in a calm and collected state. Recall the last time you lost your temper and ask yourself this question: What is it that got you so excited? Take note of your triggers and how you respond to them. Your script can then move on to more introspective statements and questions. Practice saying, “I am angry because…” and then fill in the blanks. Then, add an objective to your emotions and ask yourself what they will achieve. If you remember to jump to these scripts in the heat of the moment, you may be able to reflect rather than act on it. This method can effectively diffuse the situation and help you maintain a cool head. You may even find that the situation isn’t half as wild as you initially felt.
Check in with a mental health professional
Managing triggers for anger can be especially difficult given the circumstances we are currently in. The pandemic has been shown to exacerbate feelings of anxiety and irritability, so people are more prone to lashing out. Reaching out to a mental health professional may be beneficial in this case as they can offer expert advice on managing emotions. The good news is that there has been an increased focus on mental health across all healthcare fields, even those not traditionally associated with mental health. This is due to universities expanding their courses to include mental health subjects. Those who take a bachelor’s in healthcare management at Maryville University are able to specialize in psychology to help over see the operations of mental health practices. This ensures that clients are provided with quality services using the right technology. Fortunately, meeting people’s needs today is made possible by telehealth services. You can easily learn coping mechanisms and receive the right diagnoses from the comfort of your home to better manage your triggers and keep a cool head.
Try walking or yoga
Sometimes the best way to cool off is to remove yourself from the situation in a productive manner. This is why most people who are angry or irritated feel inclined to go for a walk. There is actually some basis to this as going for a walk can increase your feel-good hormones. Any form of exercise helps to manage negative emotions such as anger since it boosts serotonin in the brain. We even recommend some yoga poses like Vrksasana (tree) and Supta Kapotasana (reclined pigeon) that help your body stretch, unwind, and stay grounded. Yoga helps improve your mind-body awareness and lets you step back from the heightened emotions and assess the situation from a different perspective. It can also train your mind to respond accordingly the next time you need to cool off.
Prepared by: Jinkie Bracken