How to keep CoVID-19 anxiety at bay

How to keep CoVID-19 anxiety at bay
How to keep CoVID-19 anxiety at bay 

In a recent TED-talk, American psychologist, Dr Guy Winch said the key to managing anxiety, lies in taking action. By acting to restore the very feelings that anxiety seeks to diminish, we can shut off our fight-or-flight response, regain a more realistic assessment of the actual threat, and use our emotional and intellectual capacities to deal with it more effectively.

He gave six tips on how you can manage your anxiety:

1.  Focus on what you do know as opposed to what you don’t know

When you notice that your anxiety is leading you to contemplate ‘what-if’ scenarios, focus on the facts. For example, while you don’t know if you’ll get the virus, you do know that the majority of people who get CoVID-19 have symptoms that are minor and manageable.

2.  Focus on what’s in your control as opposed to what isn’t

Take a pause from whatever you’re doing and shift your mind to thinking about what’s within your control. For example, if you’re in the supermarket, you can’t control whether the other shoppers have washed their hands, but you can put on gloves or use your elbow to open doors and clean your hands thoroughly as soon as you get home.

3.   Focus on what you can do as opposed to what you can’t

Whenever you feel powerless, focus on the actions you can take instead of those you cannot eg social distancing, washing your hands regularly, cleaning the surfaces you come into contact with using disinfectant.

4.   Help yourself by helping others

Help other people who are in need. Kindness, altruism and doing for others significantly improves our own well-being than doing for ourselves. Check on a neighbour who lives alone, text a friend who works in a business that’s been hit hard by the pandemic or call an elderly family member to say hello.

5.   Limit your news consumption

Decide on specific times of day in which you will check the news and check it only then. In between, try to focus on doing normal life activities as much as possible. We need to give our minds and bodies as many opportunities as possible to de-stress and recover, which means taking breaks from all stress-inducing activities such as news consumption or conversations about the news.

6.   Keep your perspective

Right now, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But this emergency situation will resolve eventually. We don’t know if it will be in weeks or in months, but humans are highly adaptable creatures and life will seem normal again soon (although it might be a ‘new’ normal).

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