Coronavirus and health anxiety: tips for keeping worry in check | E-Neighborhood Advisor
The coronavirus has caused us all to worry about health, but for sufferers of health anxiety, the worry can be crippling. The Atlantic reports that after infections begin ebbing, a secondary pandemic of mental-health problems will follow. At a moment of profound dread and uncertainty, people are being cut off from soothing human contact.
According to The Guardian, approximately 40 million American adults – roughly 18 percent of the population – have an anxiety disorder. In times like these, where a global pandemic is taking up most of the media conversation, it can be even more difficult to stay calm.
So what can you do?
1. Avoid the (Health-Related) News
We all want to keep up to date, but try having a news detox or allocate yourself a time limit for reading or watching news.
2. Try Not to Seek Constant Reassurance
It’s natural to want your loved ones to tell you things will be OK, but when you start needing that reassurance several times a day it’s time to take a step back.
3. Introduce an Absolute Ban on Googling Symptoms
Dr. Google is not, and never will be, your friend, especially not when you are a sufferer of health anxiety.
4. Try a Countering Technique
Confront fears with a rational counter statement. For example, if your persistent thought is something like “Everyone I love will die from this virus” you can counter it with factual statements such as “Actually, most people who get Covid-19 are likely to make a full recovery, and that’s assuming mom, dad and my little sister will even catch it at all.”
5. Get Some Exercise
Exercise will help get the adrenaline out of your system and increase endorphines.
6. Breathing and Grounding Exercises
From guided yogic breathing to using a strong smell, grounding exercises can help bring you back to reality. Something as simple as sitting on the floor can help.
7. Allocate Yourself a Daily ‘Worry Period’
Give yourself half an hour to worry about this to your heart’s content, and then you have to go and do something else.
8. Treat Yourself
Anything that will give you a little boost can help. It doesn’t need to involve spending money: you can also cook yourself something nice, have a hot bath, or listen to a song you love.
9. Remember That Your Anxious State Isn’t Permanent
When you are in it, anxiety always feels as though it will never end, but it will. Be kind to yourself. It may be a bit cheesy, but this too shall pass.
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