19 Mar Staying Calm In the Midst of Coronavirus Anxiety
Feeling anxious about Coronavirus?
There are so many reasons to feel overwhelmed. Here are some tips to cope with the fear and anxiety that you may be feeling:
1. Balance the need to be informed about COVID 19 vs being obsessed.
There is so much information out there and it is easy to get caught up in it all. It may get to the point where all we are thinking about is the coronavirus. What we choose to focus on and what we put into our brains, our brains will focus on it.
And what that means is that if we are constantly reading coronavirus news, talking about it to our friends and family, watching stuff on the news and youtube, constantly scouring the internet for hand sanitizer and toilet paper, our brains will become inundated with coronavirus and we can end up feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
So take some time to just take a break from coronavirus related stuff. Watch your favorite series on netflix, go take your dog for a walk, read something that is not coronavirus related. Yes, keep up with the news but limit yourself to once a day or a certain time limit. Give your brain a break.
2. Focus on what you can vs. what you can’t control about coronavirus.
When we try to focus on the things we cannot control, we start to feel out of control. Let’s face it, there are just some things that we cannot control. I for one, wish I could control a lot of things that are out of my hands. But we have to accept that we cannot control everything. But there are things we can. We can (and I know you’re heard this a million times)–wash our hands. We can practice social distancing. We can choose our attitude about the situation. We can seek help and connection if we need it.
Focus on what you can control and practice–I say “practice” because it is not easy–letting go.
3. Use this time to explore spirituality.
This goes back to the need for control. A lot of therapy is centered around changing your thought patterns but some things we just can’t “think” our way out of. Death, trauma, the reality of this disease and of our nation–these are things that we cannot battle by just “thinking positively.”
When my clients come in with these issues that there is “no answer” to, often spirituality can be a good way to address these existential questions. Having something outside of yourself that is bigger and in control can often help us feel more grounded.
4. Reach out and do something good for someone else.
If you have the time and the resources, lend a helping hand to someone else. Research shows that helping others brings out the feel good chemicals in our brains that make us feel good. It is true that it is better to give than to receive.
5. Practice the mantra “this too shall pass.”
One thing in life is for sure and that is that nothing lasts forever. There is a season for everything, and things inevitably change, both for the better and the worse. This is the same here. Things are not going to be like this forever. It helps to see what is going on in other countries like China where things are slowly getting better. This is encouraging for me to see that things are changing over there. So things can and will change here too.
Stay safe, stay healthy everyone. Peace to everyone around the world.
About the author: Lia Huynh LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist serving the San Jose, Milpitas and Fremont areas. If you are feeling anxious about coronavirus and needed help feeling more grounded, you can find out more about individual therapy here and anxiety treatment here.