Dealing with anxiety is difficult enough even in the most normal of circumstances. Now with the onslaught of this very real and very deadly insidious disease called Covid 19 those of you who struggle with anxious and stressful symptoms are being put to the test in new and unusual ways. Are you struggling to manage an already devastating condition of anxiety in the midst of the corona virus pandemic? If so, here are some steps you can take to help manage your anxiety:
Accept Your Thoughts and Feelings
It’s important to recognize feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are. Allowing yourself whatever emotions and apprehensions are creeping into your conscious is completely okay. The more you try to push those negative, unhappy thoughts down, the more likely they will reemerge in unhealthy and unhappy ways. The best thing you can do at this time is to identify the negative thought, recognize it, and allow it to enter your mind. The sooner you allow it, the more quickly it will pass through you.
An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal.
Limit Your Exposure to Bad news
The reality is the media’s goal is to make money. And guess what? BAD NEWS SELLS! Media outlets make money by selling advertising on their TV news shows, online platforms and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. The more bad news there is, the more people tune in. The more people tune in, the more the ratings go up. The more the ratings go up, the more money these platforms make as advertisers pile in to sell their products. So the best thing you can do for yourself to manage your anxiety is to turn off TV, power down your computer, IPad, cellphone and other devices, and take a break from the incessant stream of bad news. When my clients tell me “my anxiety is off the charts”, my first question to them is “How much time are you spending watching the news?” Their answer is most often “a lot”. Give yourself a specific allotment of time to watch the news, perhaps a half hour to an hour a day will provide you with the information you need without overwhelming you. And it’s best not to watch first thing in the morning or right before you go to sleep at night.
Remember What You’ve Survived in the Past
Now is the time to remind yourself of all the difficulties you have dealt with and survived in the past. Maybe it is the loss of a parent, sibling or beloved pet. Perhaps you have encountered job loss or been the victim of a crime. Survived the World Trade Center terrorist attack or the lengthy Great Recession of 2008. Maybe, you are reminded of prior epidemics such as polio, smallpox, or HIV. You have survived amidst all of these terrible tragedies and you are still here. Maybe a little battered and bruised but still here to tell the tale. You are stronger than you know and we will get through this. Stay safe and healthy.