Distinctly Different

By Keri Morris, Membership Director at the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce

“Think Like a Shrink” is the advice that speaker, Dr. Will Miller, gave in a recent presentation about coping with the stress of working from home. Dr. Miller is a seasoned psychotherapist and respected faculty member at Purdue University.

What does ‘Think like a Shrink’ mean exactly? According to Dr. Miller, this means we need to look at the biological effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has on the human body and how that affects how we respond. Miller said that humans are poorly designed to deal with chronic stress. The human body can do the “flight or fight” thing for quick responses, but our brains aren’t adept at dealing with stress over a long period of time. What are some things we can do now to get through this time of trouble and turmoil?

Meditation. Many people balk at this practice, but studies have shown that doing 1 to 10 minutes of meditation over a period of time actually lowers your blood pressure and slows the heart rate. What is meditation? It is an activity where you find a quiet place, focus on breathing, play soft music, and just quiet your brain. It’s the act of quieting the brain that shows huge biological improvement in the human body.

Movement. Some would call this exercise, but Miller says any type of movement is good for the brain – whether it be going for a walk, doing yoga, working in your garden, going for a bike ride or whatever you choose, these are all things that help the body during times of stress.

Nature. Be outside doing something. Go outside and enjoy a cup of coffee, work on a project or in the yard. Breathing the fresh air and enjoying the sunshine on your skin will help you during this time.

Perspective.  Google dictionary’s definition is a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. People are getting sick all across our nation and that is stressful, but we have to continue living and manage the “now.” How are we going to choose to look at this particular situation?   

In conclusion, Dr. Miller suggests having compassion to everyone you encounter because you do not know what their situation is during this time. Also, take advantage of the time at home to try something you have always wanted to do like writing, cooking elaborately, or painting.