Take a deep breath … it can help you cope with anxiety and stress caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to health experts who put it into practice during a live webinar staged by one of Bahrain’s leading charities.

The Bahrain Red Crescent Society (BRCS) continues to implement its initiative to provide psychological support to citizens and residents in light of the social distancing and the negative psychological effects this may have.

This campaign, which has the slogan ‘Your Mental Health Matters’, has been introduced by the society’s health awareness committee, headed by Muyssar Awadhalla. “The initiative is co-ordinating with mental health specialists in the Health Ministry to answer questions and inquiries from citizens and residents, taking into account maintaining privacy and confidentiality of data when seeking assistance,” she said.

The webinar featured trainer Iman Al Khaja who spoke about ‘ideas and feelings and their role in mental health’. She highlighted the connection between thoughts and mental health and presented some solutions to help boost positivity and how to calm the soul and generate inner peace.

Professor Seddiqa Ali Abbas from the University of Bahrain also took part with an interactive lecture entitled ‘Mental Health during Corona’ and the audience participated in a breathing and relaxation exercise.

Deep breathing comes from your diaphragm, or in the area of your stomach. It will cause your body to relax and can reduce anxiety, medical experts say. Taking long, slow breaths from the abdominal area will also help increase the amount of oxygen and release a sense of calm throughout your brain and body.

This has been back up by research studies carried out by leading academic institutions. “Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax,” one health spokesman said.

“The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.”

Dr Taghreed Ajour, head of oral and dental health services in Bahrain’s health centres, has reviewed aspects of the work of frontliners and studied how they show patience, steadfastness and courage while providing services and health care for the infected and the general public.

The initiative also staged another meeting with frontline nurse Fathia Al Tublani, who believes that teamwork is one of the most important ways to overcome psychological and social pressures.

The head of the society’s public relations committee, Ali Kadhem, added that its training courses focus on the concept of volunteering as one of the most important basic principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

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