Mental health in the pandemic: how to stay emotionally stable?


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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Rebeca Feitosa Dória Alves and Renata Carvalho Almeida, currently second year medical students from Tirandentes University of Aracaju, located in the state of Sergipe, Brazil. They are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

In view of the current world scenario and the determined security conditions, the mental health of the population was impaired. With isolation, it becomes difficult to keep the routine under control, leaving us more anxious, confused, less focused and much more tired and sad. Thus, reorganizing the routine and including activities such as physical exercises, meditations and music can help during quarantine.

There are recommendations with scientific evidence of effectiveness that can be applied at this time. A well-known example is physical activity. It is valid to release tension, emotions and frustrations, accumulated by daily pressures and demands, in addition to the question of self-perception and improving self-esteem. In addition, it improves cognitive function, as evidenced in epidemiological data the lower risk of developing mental disorders in people who practice physical activity than in sedentary people.

Simpler practices, such as listening to music, also have an effect on improving the quality of life and developing a good psychological state. Music favors internal balance and stimulates the expression of emotions, presenting itself as a non-pharmacological therapeutic resource, as it provides pain relief through distraction, alteration of perceptual, release of endorphins and relaxation. It can even assist in personal development, since it affects the individual globally, activating and integrating physical, mental and emotional aspects.

A less common but important resource for self-knowledge and mental balance is meditation. There are records in a clinical trial of the effectiveness of meditation in mitigating the feeling of stress and anxiety. To practice, it is necessary to apply a set of techniques that train the focus of attention. Research shows that this practice can produce short and long-term effects that can positively affect cognitive and affective functions, positively alter the capacity for attentional absorption and help reduce anxiety.

Small attitudes can make a big difference to mental health in unusual moments like the current situation. In addition to the alternatives mentioned, it is important to remember the value of therapy and psychiatry in psychological care. Professional assistance is adequate and essential for personal development and balance when the psychic situation is out of control. Psychological counseling, in addition to alternative resources for controlling anxiety and stress, are strong allies in building emotional stability and stimulating positive thinking, even with the whole negative context. The mental health care suggestions are not limited to the pandemic, but something that can be considered a habit and a tool for quality of life.

About the authors

Rebeca Feitosa Dória Alves and Renata Carvalho Almeida are currently second year medical student from Tirandentes University of Aracaju, located in the state of Sergipe, Brazil. They are members of the International Federation of Medical Students of Brazil (IFMSA-BRAZIL) and believe in a world where people take better care of their mental health, decreasing the rates of depressed people and psychosomatic illnesses.

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