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Living Through COVID-19: The Effects of Chronic Stress During a Pandemic

Sep 1, 2020 | COVID, Mental Health

The pandemic has created an environment where many people are living in a constant state of fear and stress. Chronic stress can begin to wear down the body and deplete your emotional reserves. Chronic stress can often exacerbate existing family problems and can lead to unhealthy patterns of living, such as substance abuse and severe weight gain. Chronic stress has been associated with an increase in a number of physical and psychological issues, including:

  • Impaired cognitive functioning
  • Increased anxiety
  • Increased depression
  • Increased cortisol levels
  • Increased neurotoxic effects on the brain
  • Increased asthma attacks.
  • Increased cardiovascular problems
  • Impairment to the immune system
  • Increased gastrointestinal problems
  • Increases substance abuse and addictions
  • Increased symptoms of PTSD
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Increased levels of obesity
  • Impacts on glucose levels for both healthy people and those with diabetes.
  • Increased panic attacks
  • Increased thoughts of suicide
  • Increased family conflicts
  • Increased episodes of anger and agitation

In order to minimize the impacts that chronic stress has on the mind and body, it is important to learn effective stress management strategies. Listed below are some things that you can do to help you manage the chronic stress of living in the age of COVID-19.

Exercise: Exercise allows the body to release the pent-up tension that is often created by chronic stress. It also allows the body to create endorphins which are the natural “feel good” chemical within the brain.

Play: Play allows us to find some enjoyment in the middle of ongoing stress. It will give you a different perspective and will allow you to “take a break” from the worries.

Change Your Thinking: Our thoughts directly affect how much stress we feel. The more that we worry about things, the more stress we tend to feel. Focus on things that you have control over instead of worrying about things that you can’t control.

Get Back in The Moment: Worrying about the future robs you of today. Don’t give up the opportunities you have today by focusing so much on the future. Get your mind and body engaged in the moment. You will feel better if you do.

Get Support: Emotional support can help you cope with the chronic stressors of life. Build a strong network of support and you won’t feel so alone during the challenges of life.

New Dimensions Can Help!

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit to learn more.