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The coronavirus pandemic has prompted significant impacts to the Middle East, with many industries and facets of everyday life yet to return to normal. As the virus spreads, containment measures have been established by governments within the region as Real GDP for the region is now expected to drop by 4.7 percent in 2020.

People’s incomes, employment and social lives have all been affected by the measures needed to limit the spread of the virus; all of which are essential to live fulfilled and rich lives. Moreover, the uncertainty experienced by many is creating stress and anxiety around what might happen in the coming future.

Alongside the need to maintain stable income and job security, feeling mentally stable is a vital part of sustaining positive well-being. There are a variety of available tips and mobile apps which focus on exactly this, such as uMore. uMore is a mental wellbeing platform that helps users track habits, identify challenges and share their progress with their safe circle.

To stay in control during these unprecedented times, the following 5 tips provided by uMore can help us deal with stress and boost our well-being.

  1. Take Time To Connect With The Present Moment

When we are stressed, we can often find ourselves thinking about the future and all the uncertainty which comes with it. By taking the time to focus on the present, we can spend less time worrying and more time feeling at peace.

Breathe in deep and think about what it means to you to become aware of your own body. Feel the weight of your body against the ground, feel the contact your feet make with the ground. Notice the pressure, the vibrations, and the warmth of the ground. Take a few deep breaths. As you breathe in, feel all the new air you are bringing into the body. Then, exhale softly. Repeat this as you begin to clear your mind and relax.

The world can often move much more slowly than we think it does. Take the time to embrace it.

2. Give Yourself A Generous Amount of Sleep

Our brains need time to rest and restore after a busy day. Without time to recharge, our brains may lack the energy needed to face challenges that might come our way. This often can lead to greater feelings of stress and panic when we encounter obstacles in the future. A simple way to help you feel mentally energized is to set a regular sleep schedule that allows you to sleep 7-9 hours a day.

3. Stay Grounded & Become Mindful of Times Where You Might Jump To Conclusions

Stay grounded and become mindful of times where we might jump to conclusions. It is tempting to believe that we have all the answers. We all certainly wish we had all the answers. In many cases, however, this is not the case, and that is okay. When we don’t have all the answers to a situation, uncertainty can often lead to stressful responses as we worry and speculate as to what the future will look like.

When we feel like we are starting to make predictions about the future, we can try this exercise: Imagine explaining the train of thought to a group of people you feel comfortable with. Next, imagine yourself in their shoes. Now try and identify the details of the prediction which are not based on hard evidence. Would they think it was rational? Try to reflect back on the likelihood of the original prediction happening. Is it really worth worrying about, or are things too uncertain to know for sure?

4. Take Breaks To Breathe In Deeply & Relax

Short breaks are a great way for your mind to relax and recharge. Breathing exercises can also help put us into a state of relaxation, such as the 4-7-8 breathing technique. To try this, inhale silently through your nose for 4 seconds and then hold your breath for 7 seconds. Try to keep your mind clear and focus on the present moment. Then, exhale from your mouth for 8 seconds. This can be repeated as many times as needed to feel calm and relaxed.

5. Talk With Someone

Research shows that connecting with other people and talking about our well-being is a great way to feel happy and gratified while also preventing loneliness. We also often feel good after helping others, and sharing these tips with a lonely friend could leave them feeling connected and fulfilled.

Making the most of our social connections is hugely helpful when it comes to maintaining positive well-being.

Additionally, the UAE National Programme for Happiness and Wellbeing (NPHW) is offering emotional support to anyone in emotional distress or struggling to cope. If you need someone to talk to, their free helpline is always available using the support hotline 800-4673 (Hope). You can also connect with experts through WhatsApp as part of the service, available both in Arabic and English.

How Can We Start To Look After Our Well-Being?

As local governments focus their pandemic response on improving hospital care and supporting those experiencing economic hardships, we can also support the well-being of ourselves and others. Between tips such as these, and apps that help monitor well-being such as uMore, we have tools that we can count on to stay fulfilled during these uncertain times.

Written by Alejandro Serrano Saunders
Written by Alejandro Serrano Saunders

Alejandro is the Chief-Scientific Officer of uMore, the AI-powered mental well-being tracker.

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