David Puder, psychiatrist and host of the Psychiatry & Psychotherapy Podcast, returns to the podcast to address the fear, anxiety, and chaos that many are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Puder explains how cognitive distortions can skew our perception of the world and influence our emotions, and offers some ways you can "put your thoughts on trial" and ground yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Some practical tips from Dr. Puder:
- Organize your house (literally). Many of us are living with more people in the house, more often, than usual, and that means mess accumulates quickly. Cleaning up your living room, your workspace, and other areas can have a positive impact on your brain function and reduce stress and anxiety. Start with cleaning a single room.
- Organize your physical body. If you haven't been training consistently, create a training schedule that fits your new normal and stick to it. If you're feeling anxious, try incorporating some cardiovascular exercise like brisk walks, bike rides, or jogs for its stress-relieving properties.
- Put your thoughts on trial by journaling (you can use Dr. Puder's 9-day Cognitive Distortion Journal in the link below) and reflecting on your thoughts. Learn to identify your cognitive distortions, rewrite your thoughts to be more accurate, and bring some stability to your moods.
- Limit your news intake, including "hot take" type programs in which you are watching anxious people talk about their anxieties. Allow yourself a little time to watch or read the news each day, and stick to that schedule.
- Create spiritual order in your life. If there are people you need to forgive in your life, or people you need to make amends to, look for ways you can use this time and space to do so. You can reflect on the Greek's concept of agape, selfless love, and look for ways you can serve other people in your life. Remember that selfless love is acted out for the benefit of the other person, not yourself, so your actions may not be reciprocated. That's ok, doing these things can help focus your mind and spirit on topics that are meaningful, rather than the dire projections of the 24-hour media.
The COVID Cognitive Distortion Journal: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a0b24e0bff200118a898f2d/t/5e703c9171d82c71d189d565/1584413841876/9+day+journal+V003+COVID-19+.pdf
You can follow Dr. Puder at the following links:
- Get 50% off your first month of Standard, Premium OR Club plus a FREE gift card to help you build a home gym. Use code "april20" at checkout right here -- limited time only.
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