COVID-19: ‘Mental exercise’ very important during times of extreme stress

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Most of us acknowledge the importance of physical exercise when we are under a significant amount of stress. It reduces anxiety by focusing the body’s attention away from continuously triggering your stress response and its horrible effects. Through physical exercise one can literally ‘process’ (pun intended) the by-products of stress floating around in your bloodstream.

And while physical exercise plays a very important role in helping us deal with fear of the unknown and all that goes with it… it doesn’t address the need to enhance your mental discipline, especially during times of crisis. COVID-19 dropped like a bomb out of the sky on most of us. It brings new meaning to the term pandemic and how we will forever be changed going forward.

One of the things people found helpful when I was a practicing psychotherapist was helping create individualized cognitive exercise programs. Wyobabble aside, finding the right activities for each person to enact when they are under extreme stress is at least as important as helping them find a plan to become more physically fit.

I’m seeing signs on my Twitter time line that suggest some people are really struggling being isolated because of COVID-19. It’s certainly understandable given the massive shut down of our lives as we know them. The best thing we can do when those waves of anxiety wash over us is to develop a set of tools to use when you feel overwhelmed… with triggers popping up everywhere you look.

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The best news is that physical exercise really DOES work to control anxiety, but some people resist going that route for any number of reasons. It IS really hard to get motivated when it feels like the world is crashing in all around you. But, it’s one of those things that once you force yourself to MOVE your body (however little or much you are able to), you will feel better emotionally as well as physically.

Once you identify the right mental exercises that work for you, mastering them becomes much easier. For some people, meditation works wonders. For others, sitting down and doing a crossword puzzle works. The goal is to figure out exactly what works for you and DO IT. Do it over and over and over again as many times as is necessary to get your brain to disengage from the vortex that is anxiety.

Times like these are actually opportunities for personal growth if we choose to extract something positive out of the pile of steaming viral-laden manure dumped on our lives at this particular moment.

Editor’s babble: Just trying to pass along a few ideas to think about as we roll through the tsunami called COVID-19. You can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO. Much love.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynMundyWYO.