Research, Technology

Taking care of mental health: how not to go crazy in dark times

The end of 2019 gave the world an unpleasant gift.The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our entire lives in just a matter of months. At first, these were reports from China about the spread of a new coronavirus, a little later we watched the lockdowns introduced in the Celestial Empire and prepared for them ourselves. The virus, however, took only a few months to take over almost the entire globe, and its further spread led to the appearance of mutations. But the trouble, as you know, does not come alone - the situation in the world makes even the calmest of us nervous. And if we somehow cope with physical ailments, then what about mental health? After all, even before the pandemic, not everyone coped with daily stress. So, how to survive a series of crises without losing your head?

Large-scale changes always disrupt the established order of life. But how do you stay healthy?


  • 1 Mental health
  • 2 Stress and its consequences
  • 3 How to deal with stress?
  • 4 Compassion and support

mental health

Human health includes not onlyphysical state of the body, but also mental. The latter, by the way, affects our emotional and social well-being: it affects how we think, what we feel and how we act. Our emotional state plays a huge role in life, helping to determine how to cope with stress, communicate with others and make decisions.

Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence to adulthood.

How to live when there is chaos around?

Moreover, each of us at one time or anotherfaces challenges that affect thinking, mood, and behavior. And to be honest, mental illness is more common than one might think. These problems, however, do not appear out of nowhere. In particular, there are a number of factors that affect us:

  • Biological factors such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health illness

Fortunately, there is good news as well. They are that depression, anxiety disorder and panic attacks treatable, and many of those who encountered them,recover completely. But how do you know that you or your loved ones are suffering from a mental illness? Experts identify several feelings, thoughts and emotions that you should pay close attention to:

  • If you sleep too much or vice versa, not enough
  • Move away from people and familiar activities
  • Feeling weak or completely lacking
  • Experiencing physical discomfort including unexplained pain
  • Feel helpless and hopeless
  • Abuse alcohol, nicotine or drugs
  • You are often confused, angry and irritable
  • Quarrel with family and friends

Severe mood swings, as well as permanent onesmemories and thoughts about the past also indicate the presence of problems. It is impossible to underestimate the described symptoms, because when you are depressed, you may be visited by thoughts of committing suicide, and performing your usual daily activities becomes an impossible task. But what to do when the crisis is everywhere?

More on the topic: What is depression and why should it be treated?

Stress and its consequences

The first thing to know about stress is thathe is real. When something terrible happens around, our first reaction is shock, which passes after a while, leaving us alone with the problem. But due to the fact that the current problems are global and it is impossible to solve them alone, we are overcome by helplessness.

With helplessness comes something worsethe realization that the future we dreamed of will never come. Frightening uncertainty, along with the inability to somehow influence the situation, destroys us from the inside. The so-called doom scrolling (the phenomenon of wasting screen time devoted to reading negative news) and the abundance of fake news are slowly but surely plunging us into the abyss of despair.

Continuously watching bad news on social media is bad for your health.

As a professor of cognitive neuroscience atUniversity College London Tali Sharot, Negative news overload increases stress levels and forces us to make rash decisions. Moreover, this mental state changes our relationship to reality.

You may be interested in: How does reading news about the end of the world affect health?

But the matter is not limited to one perception.Severe stress, especially if it is prolonged, changes the biochemistry of the body and brain. Neurotransmitters - chemicals produced in the brain - begin to malfunction and people become unhappy in the truest sense of the word.

When the chemical balance is disturbed, we can no longer enjoy sunsets, and what's there, even food loses its taste. But it is one thing - depression, diagnosed, for example, before the pandemic - and quite another - mental health during a pandemic, war and rapidly changing life.

How to deal with stress?

So, how to maintain a healthy mind in difficulttime? First, stop doing doomscrolling. Each of us can perceive a limited amount of information, so first of all we need to deal with information hygiene. Let's say right away - this can be difficult to do, as you have to work on yourself and change your habits.

one.If you regularly read magazines—print or online—within a set schedule, it will be easier for the brain to process recent events and separate what we have seen from our daily activities. To maintain mental health, you will have to reconsider your own habits. Fortunately, people adapt quickly to changes, and what exactly to replace reading the news before bed is up to you.

To stay healthy, you need to maintain informational hygiene

2. Don't forget about fakes.Best of all, false information is spread on social networks and it becomes increasingly difficult to determine what is true and what is not. So, fake, that is, false, fake news is information in which the truth is partially or completely absent.

Read even more interesting articles about the discoveries of modern science on our channel in Yandex.Zen - articles that are not on the site are regularly published there

In order not to become a victim of deception, it is necessary to develop critical thinking, and at the same time make a habit of checking information. You can read about the best way to do this here.

3.Assess the impact that bad news has. Yes, at this stage you will have to become your own doctor and decide how much bad news your psyche can handle. If necessary, avoid conversations that only increase anxiety and make you feel worse.

All things considered, we should be likecan be more united to deal with disasters. Ultimately, each of us contributes to everyday life in the name of peace, scientists recommend.

4.In addition to choosing and controlling the amount of information consumed, it is necessary to pay attention both to initiatives that promote mutual understanding and solidarity, and to small but pleasant little things. Ultimately, our lives are made up of them.

Our life is full of stress. But how to deal with them?

5. Do self-education.It may seem a little strange, but even a hundred years ago, psychiatrists and researchers said the following about the lack of education: “Everyone around talks about peace, but children are raised to compete. Competition, in return, leads to violence and wars.

This is interesting: How does disinformation spread and how to counter it?

Compassion and Support

Mental health professionalsbelieve that you can help yourself with the help of compassion. Perhaps it is compassion and a kind attitude towards oneself that help to cope with difficulties. But how?

First of all, keep hoping for the best.And celebrate any positive events in life, even if those events are just everyday life. Special attention should be paid to nutrition and sports. Most importantly, don't force yourself to do something you don't like. You don't have to exhaust yourself with diets and spend several hours a day on the treadmill at the gym.

All that is needed is to make small changes in the usual daily routine, for example, eating less fast food and sweets. And the gym can be replaced with walks in the park. The main thing is to move.

Fourth: be selective about the news.

And, of course, do what youreally like it. Whether it's watching movies, reading books, dancing or drawing. The main thing is to set a daily routine. This will help not only to overcome boredom, but also to maintain healthy sleep. Quitting bad habits such as smoking, drinking, and thought-scrolling will help you stay healthy, both physically and mentally.

This is interesting: Is it possible to learn to think critically and why is it needed?

And finally, an interesting thought:the fact that others are facing the same problems as you has its advantages. There is nothing surprising, by the way, in this, because we receive support and can provide it to those who need it. In other words, take care of yourself and each other. Whatever dark and gloomy times loomed on the horizon.