Coping with anxiety related to Coronavirus


18 days ago


harli marten n7a2OJDSZns unsplash

Article written by Dr Katya

 

The panic around the outbreak of coronavirus is spreading faster than the virus itself.

Fear and anxiety about the virus can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Those with pre-existing physical conditions, vulnerable individuals and those with pre-exisiting anxiety-related conditions, can be particularly vulnerable. 

 

Here are some strategies of how you can support yourself:

  • Consciously refrain from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. Choose a reliable source of news and choose to check it once a day for a limited about of time (e.g. 10 minutes).
  • Make time to unwind. Create a menu of personal care activities that you enjoy, such as taking a bath, exercising, reading a book, painting or playing a musical instrument. Commit to do 1 of these activities daily.
  • Connect with others. Talk with a nourishing, calming friend or family member who you trust about how you are feeling. Telephone, skype and other services make remote communication possible.
  • Elicit regular relaxation response. Dr. Herbert Benson, professor and founder of Harvard’s Mind-Body Medical Institute, in his research showed that practicing regular relaxation response produces changes in the expression of genes involved in immune function (Dusek, 2008). There are many methods to elicit the Relaxation Response including visualisation, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing techniques, prayer and meditation. Chose any of these and devote 20 minutes daily before breakfast to counter-balancing the stress response.
  • Determine whether your worry is productive or unproductive. Then you can either use it to prepare, or let it go. If you have a productive worry (that potentially has a solution):
    • Problem-solve it, identify a plan
    • Limit the worry to 1 situation. If you find your mind jumping from situation to situation, it is unlikely that any effective solution will come from this. Instead, you will probably just end up feeling overwhelmed.
    • Limit worrying to 10 minutes. If you have been focusing on something for more than 10 minutes, planning is not happening. Instead, you’re probably just ruminating or obsessing.
  • If your worry does not have a solution:
    • Acknowledge that there are factors outside of your control. Focus on ways you can influence, and give up the fantasy of control. 
  • This technique is part of a cognitive behavioural therapy protocol for generalised anxiety that has been shown to be effective in significantly reducing anxiety in 70-80% of patients, as compared to the 30% of patients who receive traditional talking therapy (Durham, 1995).
  • Take homeopathic remedy Arsenicum Album 30c when needed up to twice daily to help you with anxiety and worry related to this situation.
  • You can also use Rescue remedy as needed when feeling anxious or panicky. Dispensary will be able to dispense this without prescription over the coming weeks. If you develop other symptoms, a doctor can prescribe further remedies. Do not hesitate to contact us.

 Keep calm and stay safe.

 For general advice on Coronovirus prevention please read Dr Ridsdale’s article Coronavirus Guidance.

 

References:

  • Dusek JA, Otu HH, Wohlhueter AL, Bhasin M, Zerbini LF, et al. (2008) Genomic Counter-Stress Changes Induced by the Relaxation Response. PLoS ONE 3(7): e2576. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002576
  • Durham, R.C. (1995). Comparing treatments for generalized anxiety disorder: Reply. British Journal of Psychiatry, 166, 266-267.