Anxiety in the time of a pandemic.

panic

Anxiety can be a crippling emotional challenge. As a psychologist and counsellor I work with clients dealing with their anxiety and I want to share some information about this condition and its management.

What spreads the contagion of anxiety?

  • Anxiety is made worse when it is fed. Searching for more information about what was making you anxious will usually increase your anxiety.
  • Rumour and mistruths exacerbate our experience of anxiety.
  • Sharing rumours on social media is the equivalent of sneezing in a crowded restaurant.  It spreads worry.
  • Waiting for normalacy to return is not practical. Pandemics take years to work out so please consider adjusting to a new normal of living with COVID-19 for now.

What cures anxiety in general and COVID 19

  • Challenge all sources of information. Media often include panic inciting headlines and bury calming information.
  • Acknowledge your anxiety – give it a voice, but not a megaphone. Talk to your anxiety as you would a worried child. Accept that it exists, how it might perceive the situation, and offer alternative ways of looking at the issue. Be kind to yourself.
  • Perspective is important. There are some benefits in this situation:When we asked what is positive fans often expressed that they were enjoying aspects of life that are now less hectic –sleeping in, spending time with kids, husbands coming home earlier, commutes taking less time, nice walks with their pets. We have seen the resurgence of cooking and home crafts.
  • Be careful when you share information. Search for facts, not rumours. Do not spread the contagion of panic. At the same time, share facts not opinions – seriously wear a mask.
  •  Panic buying possibly adds to your experience of panic. Sure if you need toilet paper buy a pack. Don’t buy 10 packs “just in case”.
  • Don’t judge those who leave, or those who stay in your area as the number of cases grows. People make the choices that they think are best for their family. In reality they, and you, probably will not contract the virus, and if they do they will survive.
  • Face down myths whenever you get the opportunity (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters)
  • Practice being grateful. Gratitude allows you to stay positive
  • Challenge your thinking. We often employ cognitive filters when we interpret information and this can increase our anxiety. For example, if you tend to catastrophise situations it will possibly lead to exacerbated anxiety. Take a look at the following article which might help. (https://reddoor.hk/2019/03/28/change-the-view-challenging-your-thinking-filters/)

Working actively on your anxiety can help to reduce it. Sometimes talking to a professional might help. If you’d like to tackle your anxiety with Angela, or one of our other therapists, in Hong Kong, contact us at reception@reddoor.hk or SMS to 852-93785428.

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