Yale doctor shares advice on coping with high-stress times amid the pandemic


(WTNH) — For many people, the pandemic has been a time of high stress that is taking its toll on the mental health of so many.

The definition of mental health is the ability to work and love, according to Yale neuropsychiatrist Arman Fesharaki. Times like a pandemic can wreak havoc on that.

“If our stressors, if our anxieties, if our day to day mood issues get to a certain point that they affect the way we function on a day to day basis, then that’s the time red flags should be raised,” Dr. Arman Fesharaki, Instructor of Psychiatry and of Neurology, Yale School of Medicine.

A depressed mood and the inability to enjoy things are danger signs.

“Measuring it ourselves and asking loved ones how they’re sleeping on a nightly basis, appetite changes, so changes loss of weight, weight gain.”

Doctor Fesharaki recommends speaking to a colleague, loved one, or a mental health provider. He says telehealth has allowed many to successfully get professional help without a stigma of going to an office. To help deal with depression, he recommends writing journals for patients and meditation.

“Mindfulness meditation has been shown to strengthen the areas of the brain what is called a prefrontal cortex. That’s the area of the brain in charge of emotional control.”

He says as little as three to five minutes a day works wonders. He adds that popular, calming phone apps can help with this along with free guided meditation YouTube videos.

Finally, exercise is another recommendation because Doctor Fesharaki points out it produces a natural cocktail of endorphins, which are mood-boosting without side effects.

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