COVID-19: Building Mental Immunity

By: Dr. Neetu Ahluwalia


Dear Friends,

I hope you are staying well. Today I want to address stress and anxiety with you. I have had many phone calls this week—the good news is that most of you are not sick—we all just need reassurance and support.

First of all, it is normal to feel stress and anxiety right now. We are in unprecedented times, and the only truth is that things are constantly changing and will continue to do so. What you are feeling is true and real.

Anxiety is evolutionary and healthy—it leads to appropriate levels of concern like when you are late to a meeting. When anxiety leads to fear and helplessness (when you feel stuck), it may be time to take action, seek help, and build your mental immunity.

Elevated levels of anxiety or stress can lead to sleeplessness, poor focus, forgetfulness, irritability, and anger. Plus, we are all socially isolated! Anxiety and stress raise the heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate.

Here are some resources I like to help manage these emotions:

  1. The anxiety and depression association of America (ADAA) ha s an excellent webpage of resources.
  2. Yale professor Laurie Santos’s happiness course, in which she explains the science of wellbeing, is available free on Coursera. She also has a podcast.
  3. Try mindfulness apps such as Calm and Headspace, Mindfulness Meditation.
  4. Virtual Field Trips—try one at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
  5. Listen to the Podcast, The Hidden Brain, on NPR.
  6. Reach out to a mental health professional if you need to. You can access telemental health services..

Focus on what you Can do, and what you Can control. Start with just one thing today and you will feel better. Your mental and physical immunity will thank you.

As always, I'm here to field your questions and offer wellness advice. Hang in there.

If you have anything you would like to share with the community, please send it to me. Here is one that you shared that relates to this week's topic of stress and anxiety. Thanks, KaamnaLive.

You will hear from me again soon.

Stay well,

Dr. A

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.