We live in uncertain times. The coronavirus pandemic took everyone by surprise, and even though this prolonged break is good for the environment, it turns out to be damaging for some people. The way we relate to events around us tells something about ourselves. Some people might have seen this pandemic and lockdown as something positive because they finally have the time to do what they have always wanted.
At the same time, other people feel more anxious and depressed, and substance abuse is on the rise. The same event can affect every person differently. However, the rapid way this virus spread and all the deadly cases trigger everyone’s anxiety to some extent.
Most people see anxiety as a bad thing, as something to avoid at any cost. But anxiety, like other negative emotions, helps us survive. In moderate amounts, anxiety helps you prepare for a possible event. Along with fear, it helped our ancestors survive and thrive.
But anxiety disorders are on the rise. Anxiety, in extreme and high amounts, can be destructive. It can prevent you from living and enjoying life and keep you in a dark and fearful corner. You constantly feel worry, fear, and nervousness, and start having difficulties concentrating and thinking clearly. All these constant negative feelings and struggles affect your lifestyle and relationships.
There are some small habits anyone can adopt to take control of anxiety in times of uncertainty. One thing that is important to keep in mind is that anxiety can become a mental disorder. If that happens, you might need therapy. Before it comes to that, there are some healthy habits and perspectives you can adopt to control your anxious feelings during these challenging times.
Focus on What You Can Control
All of life is marked by uncertainty. We do not know what will happen in the future, but we can do something to make it better. If you are experiencing intense feelings of anxiety about catching the coronavirus, it is in your power to focus on things you can control.
For example, you cannot control the recovery of the economy or the spread of the virus, but you can control your behavior. You can protect yourself from the virus by frequently washing your hands, avoiding crowds, and cleaning the most used surfaces in your living and work environments.
Focus on the things that are within your control. It is not useful to dwell on something you cannot control. By switching the focus to something you can actively do, you shift from anxiety, worry, and rumination to problem-solving.
Limit Your Time Spent Reading the News
Many ordinary events and activities have been canceled to limit the spread of the virus. This can make it seem that nothing is happening in the world, except the pandemic and other misfortunes. The media focuses on how the virus evolves, how many scientists are working to develop a vaccine and the number of cases and deaths.
While all this data helps us understand how the virus evolves and spreads, it can certainly increase your anxiety. You might feel that you are well-informed if you watch the news a lot. But it can contribute to increasingly intense feelings of anxiety.
Limit your news consumption. Read or watch the news once a day to not lose contact with what is happening in your country. Always hearing and scrolling through the news about the world pandemic will make the process of controlling your anxiety even harder. And always keep in mind that many media outlets are sharing misinformation, so always check the accuracy of what you read and hear.
Look After Your Body
The symptoms of anxiety are not only on your mind but on your body too. You might feel numb, weak, or lethargic. This is why it’s important to take care of your body. This can help limit your feelings of anxiety and keep them at a normal, healthy level.
So, how should you look after your body? The most important way is to sleep enough. Sleep around eight hours per night and try to wake up at the same hour every day. Most people are not aware of the positive benefits of sleep on their bodies and minds.
Sleep reduces stress, and we all know that anxiety comes with high levels of stress. It reduces inflammation, makes you more alert and present, and improves your memory. You do not feel tired, and this can have a huge impact on your perspective.
Another thing that can help you control your anxiety is exercising. Find the type that suits you. You can choose yoga and stretching, or running on a treadmill. Whatever you choose, exercising will have a positive effect.
Exercise will help you keep fit, improve your flexibility, and boost your mood. This is because exercise triggers the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones, which will instantly make you feel better, confident, and more relaxed.
Eating healthy during these times is important. If your body feels good, your mind will start to feel good too. Avoid greasy foods full of unhealthy fats or sugar, and choose to cook your own meals. Take your vitamins and nutrients from vegetables, fruits, grains, and dairy.
Avoiding unhealthy habits such as substance abuse, smoking, and heavy drinking is important. During these harsh times, many people found comfort in drinking or smoking, but this kind of comfort is short-term. It can damage your immune system and make you more prone to infections and catching the virus.
Look after your body. Let go of harmful and unhealthy habits and replace them with healthier and more helpful ones.
Look After Your Mind
If your body feels good, your mind will start doing the same. However, anxious thoughts are born in your mind, so you need to identify and modify those unhealthy thinking patterns.
Meditation is an ancient technique used by Buddhist monks, but it has begun to gain momentum in recent years. Meditation has many subtypes, such as mindfulness, transcendental, or guided meditation.
Scientists have studied the effects of meditation and found that it reduces stress. Because less stress means less anxiety, meditation can help you calm your thoughts and mind, relax, and focus on things within your reach.
It helps you get a new perspective on your problems and adopt problem-solving strategies. In this way, you can take control of the anxiety and keep it at a reasonable level.
You should not aim to get completely rid of anxiety. You only need to find ways to cope with it, control it, and keep it at normal levels. In some cases, anxiety can help you prepare and focus better, so you do not need to avoid it in every case.
Also, even though large gatherings are best avoided during the pandemic, you can organize some virtual ones. Gather your friends and family and maintain contact with them. Social support is important for your mental health, and it helps alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and intense distress.
Social connectedness improves your ability to cope with stressful situations, such as a pandemic and global shutdown. Social support enhances your quality of life and helps you face adverse life events.
We live in unprecedented times. The latest world pandemic took a toll on our lifestyles and relationships. Much that happens around you can trigger intense anxiety feelings, which become unhealthy. You should not aim to avoid anxiety altogether, but find ways to control it.
Focus on things you can control: look after your body and mind and limit your news intake. Exercise, meditate, get in touch with old friends, eat healthily, and avoid smoking and drinking. And if you feel you cannot cope, ask a therapist for help.
About the Author: Joe McLean is a freelance writer who currently works as a consultant with College Paper, the custom essay service. He likes to share advice on self-improvement and self-development, motivation, and mental health. Joe loves traveling, meeting new people, and skating. Please add him on Facebook.
Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash
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