Last week was tough. Coronavirus fears dominated the news. The stock market plummeted. Colleges went to online only classes. Sporting events were played without audiences. We lost an hour.

The noise level in the world seems to have turned up. People are stressed out. Health officials are advising people to stay six feet away from each other.

How do we find any relief from stress and anxiety when there’s so much trouble in the world?

That’s a song by reggae great Bob Marley. (Music, by the way, is a stress reliever. See below.)

Here are some of the lyrics from “So Much Trouble in the World” (1979):

Bless my eyes this morning

Jah sun is on the rise once again

The way earthly things are going

Anything can happen

You see men sailing on their ego trips

Blast off on their spaceships

Million miles from reality

No care for you, no care for me

What’s Bob’s answer to the chaos?

All you’ve got to do is give a little (give a little)

Not a bad suggestion. Give more time to your loved ones, your kids, your dog, your art, your garden — whatever helps you to survive and thrive ... or just get through the day.

“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives,” to quote poet Maya Angelou.

Be gentle with yourself. And maybe take some time to consciously unplug, as I suggested in a recent column.

Stress is no joke, and we’re subject to a heightened level of it these days. The above are coping mechanisms.

Here’s a general list of tips from Medical News Today to help manage stress and calm anxiety:

1. Drink less caffeine. Caffeine can spike your adrenaline levels and make some people feel anxious. (I type this after downing my second cup of coffee. My elevated heart rate says it’s probably good to cut back).

2. Exercise. Moving your body decreases the levels of stress hormones in it and also can distract you from negatively spiraling thoughts. Just a simple walk to break up the day is a good practice.

3. Practice yoga. See above. Yoga also reduces inflammation.

4. Listen to music. It’s known to boost the immune system. Note, it’s hard to feel down when you’re listening to Bob Marley.

5. Meditate. Focusing on the present moment can reduce worry and ruminative thought patterns.

6. Visualize. If you can’t take that beach vacation right now, even just picturing the waves can help to promote relaxation.

7. Breathe. All the way into your belly. Shallow breaths into your chest don’t help.

8. Stop procrastinating. Write that (metaphorical or literal) column sooner rather than later. Putting things off makes them loom larger in your mind.

All that said, please see a medical professional if your anxious feelings become overwhelming.

Indeed, these are simplified suggestions. Life is complicated enough. Just breathe.

Michelle Karas has called the Pikes Peak region home for five years. She has been editor of Pikes Peak Newspapers since June. Contact Michelle with feedback and letters to the editor at michelle.karas@pikespeaknewspapers.com.

Editor, Pikes Peak Newspapers

Michelle has been editor of the four Pikes Peak Newspapers (Pikes Peak Courier; Tri-Lakes Tribune; Cheyenne Edition; and Woodmen Edition) since June 2019. A Pennsylvania native and Penn State journalism graduate, she joined The Gazette's staff in 2015.

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