Dan Regan Hypnotherapy & Coaching

Covid-19 Anxiety, Stress & Negative Body Image Hypnotherapy Vlog

In this hypnotherapy video I talk about recent research that suggests that Covid-19 anxiety and stress may also be having an impact on your body image. As well as other psychological and mental health impacts of the coronavirus pandemic such as increased Covid-19 anxiety and stress, substance use, coronaphobia and so forth, this research also suggest that Covid-19 anxiety and stress can lead to us having more a more negative body image. This in turn could impact on issues such as self-esteem, mood and well-being and could potentially elevate the risk of eating disorders. 

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Covid 19 anxiety stress negative body image

 

Covid-19 Anxiety, Stress & Negative Body Image

Hello, it’s Dan here. I hope you’re good today. Now one of the main things, perhaps unsurprisingly, that I’ve been covering a lot recently, and talking to people about and helping people with is Covid related stress and anxiety. And certainly figures out this week from the Office for National Statistics, they did a well-being survey, suggest that three quarters, or over three quarters of adults are worried about Covid and the impacts of it. Anxiety levels remain at their highest level since way back when all this kicked off, and life satisfaction has dropped substantially.

It’s perhaps not unsurprising that there is a huge mental health impact of this stuff. There are worries about contracting coronavirus, coronoaphobia that I’ve talked about before, and the impacts of that on you and your health, on your kids, your family, your career, paying the bills and so on. There are impacts on education, whether you’ll be made redundant, whether your job is still going to be there, all those kinds of things. Like I say, there’s the health impact, whether you struggle with health anxiety, or whether you’re worried about yourself or someone else who’s perhaps in a vulnerable category.

All of those things, they play on our minds, the thoughts, the feelings - evidence after evidence shows that mental health has been affected with Covid related stress and anxiety. One area that, I’ve just come across a new research paper that was out just this week, starts to look at a different area of life that’s been impacted. So, like I say, we know there are worries about health, about contracting it, there are worries about career, finances, the kids and what will happen from that.  There’s the impact of not being able to do all the things we would normally do, and social interaction and contact. People, particularly who perhaps used to use socialising as their way of switching off and having a good time and feeling good, obviously having to rein that in and, in many cases, not able to do the stuff that you were doing. And if that was your way of coping with stress and anxiety, obviously that can have an impact in and of itself.

But this latest research actually looked at whether Covid related stress and anxiety is having an impact on how we kind of view ourselves, on our body image. And certainly body image is something that comes up quite frequently when I talk to people. Whether that’s because of low self esteem, and just kind of judging yourself negatively and feeling unworthy or not good in yourself. Whether it’s around things like people who want to lose weight or take control of their eating habits, self critical, beating  themselves up, won’t look in the mirror, won’t be in photographs, all sorts of sometimes even unpleasant things they say to themselves about how they look and their body image and certainly it’s a factor and something I help people with throughout the year.

But this particular research paper looked at whether Covid related stress and anxiety is having an impact on our body image and what they found from their sample was, in fact, it is. Beyond just normal stress and anxiety, Covid related stress and anxiety is leading to more of us having a negative body image. And obviously that can be of concern because it’s not nice to be kind of self critical and to feel bad in that way and it can lead to kind of changes in eating patterns and even eating disorders, it can impact on your self esteem and your well-being and a whole range of other things that come from just viewing your body in that negative way.

And there are plenty of things we can do to resolve that perception and to help you feel better in yourself but, certainly, like I say it’s worth keeping in mind that if you feel rubbish  because of anxiety and stress, Covid’s doing that to a lot of people affecting mental health, then our brain has to find something to latch onto. All those kind of unpleasant stress and anxiety feelings, your brain may very well start going this is about body image and linking it to that, particularly because during the pandemic and, even now, sometimes eating habits aren’t as healthy as they  could be. I’ve met a lot of people recently who have sought help specifically for that, whether it’s relying on takeaways or just convenience stuff, or just being at home more, and the kind of temptations of eating that way, emotional eating certainly comes into it to try to cope with the stress and anxiety.

Again I’ve written before about research that shows that a lot of people have been using substances, whether that’s alcohol, or nicotine, or cannabis, or other stuff as a coping mechanism. With all the stress and anxiety I need something to help me feel better and people are using that stuff but, of course, a lot of that stuff isn’t particularly healthy, or good for you - alcohol is a depressant, stress from nicotine. Again all adds to not feeling great, feeling unhealthy, feeling bad in yourself and having that negative body image.

Certainly a lot of people have had more time to think about that stuff, you may have been working at home, there may have been less social interaction and going out and doing that kind of stuff. Often time and space in that vacuum can lead to that negative kind of thinking. As I’ve mentioned before, stress and anxiety often latch onto things, they like flow into stuff and if some of your habits around say drinking or eating haven’t been that great recently they can link into that. If you’re not the size, shape, weight that you would like to be, it can all feed into that. If your self esteem and just how you feel in yourself is pretty low and your mood’s low again it can all link into that as well.

And, unfortunately, this particular research, although it suggested that link between Covid-19 stress an anxiety and a negative body image, it didn’t analyse why that might be the case but, like I say, those kind of habits haven’t been as great or as healthy as you would like them to be, potentially people speculate, maybe spending more time on-line and kind of being exposed to either idealised images of health and well-being or filtered stuff where people, when you look on social media, showing you what they want you to see. And sometimes that can lead to kind of negative comparisons and thinking perhaps we’re not doing as good a job in areas of our life as we could be. That can contribute to it and, again, having more time just to think, again, can contribute to this kind of stuff.

But certainly it may even have been underlying issues for some people - like I say if anxiety and stress were there even before Covid. If people had a kind of negative body image beforehand, if people at  the weight and having the health and the habits they wanted to. I’ve been working with a very lot of people both for stress and anxiety and also for, like I say, taking control over eating habits, weight loss applications of hypnotherapy, taking control of your alcohol whether that’s reining it in or just being in control, or reducing it because, again, lots of people have found that it crept up, or has been creeping up over recent months. What might have been infrequent, or just the odd glass here and there, starts to creep in, there's more time, it becomes a switch off especially if you’re at home a lot, it kind of delineates your working day from your evening, people use it to unwind and relax, but of course if that becomes habitual, that can have its own issues as with a lot of these things, with substances, and food, and alcohol and smoking and so on.

But certainly the good news, if your like, firstly keep in mind that if you’re having those kind of thoughts, negative body image thoughts, do keep in mind that it may just be linked to Covid related stress and anxiety according to this research, that is certainly the case. Which means that as you deal with stress and anxiety and certainly that’s the sort of thing I help people with, those thoughts may certainly start to dissipate and you start to feel better in yourself. If it’s around taking control of other aspects of life in terms of eating habits or alcohol or quitting smoking, again there’s a lot of stuff you can do there. If it’s around self esteem, judging yourself negatively or being very self critical or over-thinking, again there’s a mass of stuff that can help you with all that. But, you know, taking action and doing stuff around that is certainly possible, but certainly, like I say, aim to be kind to yourself. I’ve mentioned this several times before in these kind of videos and in my articles.

All the evidence shows that the kinder you are to yourself, the more you support yourself and encourage yourself, the better you get to feel, the happier you’re going to feel, the less anxious and stressed you’re going to feel, but the more you can enjoy that journey of letting go of unwanted emotions, or taking control, or making changes that you want to, or achieving the kind of body that you want to, all that can be done in a much nicer way than metaphorically being self critical or beating yourself over the head with that kind of metaphorical stick. We sometimes can be a bit motivating but in the long term we don’t feel that great and if we don’t feel that great what happens, more of those thoughts and feelings and the negativity starts to creep in and we can go around in circles, if you like.

We can sustain things for a bit but then we find ourselves back where we started. So, like I say, have a look at my website, have a look at the other places, take action, reducing Covid related stress and anxiety is certainly achievable. Changing how you perceive yourself and your body image into a more positive or more neutral light as you take action. Be aware that if you're having those kind of negative thoughts around your body image, not only can you do stuff around that, but certainly it can be linked to the current climate environment and Covid related stress and anxiety, which means that taking action on those, taking positive steps, doing the kind of stuff I’ve talked about in these videos and in my articles before, will certainly help with that.

And whether it’s self esteem, whether it’s just your general view of your body, whether it’s Covid related stress and anxiety, whether it’s other stress and anxiety, there’s a whole mass of stuff you can do. So, do do that and keep in mind that you can achieve goals in terms of feeling better in your body, and achieving the size, shape weight that you want to, or being healthier, or feeling  happier and having that good self esteem and you can achieve that in a positive way where you enjoy the journey, where you encourage yourself, where you’re kind to yourself, where you express that positivity to yourself, in a much nicer way to achieve that stuff, and probably makes it much more likely that you will get there.

So do keep that in mind. Covid related stress and anxiety can have all sorts of impacts both in terms of the kind of thoughts and feelings you have, the way you’re perceiving things, the way you perceive yourself, the use of substances. There’s plenty that can be done around those things, and please do, throughout that journey, learn to cultivate, encouraging yourself, being kind to yourself, being supportive and warm to yourself and certainly that will make you feel better as you take the steps that you want to take towards the goals that you want to achieve. Do look after yourself, do take care and I will speak to you very soon. Take care now.

 

Dan Regan

9 November 2020

Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

 

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