Why managing stress in lockdown is vital, plus tips on how to do it!

While death rates from the COVID-19 chaos continue to drop, it’s clear that social distancing isn’t going anywhere as we learn to live with the virus.

And with lockdown still imposed on many of us, loneliness and anxiety are skyrocketing as we remain uncertain about our future.

But thanks to motivation guru and alternative medicine advocate, Deepak Chopra, he has shared his tips on how to reset the body and mind during the outbreak.

Speaking as part of India Today’s E-Conclave Wellness Series, Chopra spoke about how important it is to relax as stress can be as much of a killer as the infection itself.

Chopra said: “If stress is not controlled, it leads to a biological havoc. Anytime you feel stressed, you can STOP. It is an acronym.

“S stands for stop. D stands deep breaths. Take three deep breaths and smile from your head to toe. O stands for observe. Observe the sensations in your body without any judgements. And finally, P stands for proceed. Proceed with awareness and choice.

“Yoga and meditation are other ways to release stress and anxiety.”

One of the reasons why anxiety is so bad for the body is because elevated levels of our stress hormone cortisol interfere with learning and memory, can lower immune function and bone density, and increase blood pressure, cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

In order to reduce stress, Chopra believes in a seven-point mantra of wellbeing.

These seven key areas are sleep, meditation and stress management, movement (particularly yoga), deep breathing, healthy emotions (like love and joy), nutrition (plant-based food), and connection with nature – all while maintaining self-awareness of the body, mind and our relationships.

While in theory this all sounds lovely, the reality is that juggling mental health alongside home-schooling, family arguments, or financial strain, is pretty tricky.

For people to who find coping with stress a significant challenge, Chopra recommends deep breathing as the most effective way to counteract it.

He said: “Right now, everybody in the world is experiencing some degree of anxiety, fear of death, and they are not taking their existence for granted.

“We should be grateful for existence every moment. If you ask yourself ‘What am I grateful for?’ and feel your body, experience the mental space – in that moment, stress will go away.”

Chopra also talks about the power of relaxation, saying that watching films and engaging in art, music or storytelling indulges the mind and body to work together.

He added: “Practicing yoga and deep breathing together has a direct effect on your nervous system. Emotional engagement is absolutely important to beat stress.

“You can be in the moment by simply asking yourself, ‘Am I in the moment?’ constantly. That’s it.

“You can live in the moment by periodically stopping and observing your breath and the sensations in the body. You have to remember the worst use of imagination is stress and the best use is creativity. When you live in the moment, you have the access to creativity.”

When quizzed over the one thing he has learned during the pandemic, Chopra simply said: “Surrender to the wisdom of uncertainty every day. That is the key to creativity.”

For more info, click here: Chopra Center Meditation.