You don’t need to have an official diagnosis of anxiety for it to affect your life. It’s an emotion that exists on a sliding scale, and in times of adversity can manifest in even the most grounded people. We all have fears. They’re a normal part of life. But when we allow them to run rampant, they can create a distorted view of the world, which can lead to a decline in our mental health. If the outbreak of COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we’re capable of bouts of irrational behaviour if we believe we’re being backed into a corner – stockpiling being just one example.
- Know When You’re Catastrophising
One of the most common symptoms of anxiety is dwelling on the worst-case scenario – otherwise known as catastrophising within psychology. When you hyper-focus on an event that’s causing you distress, it not only causes you to lose perspective on your reality, it also heightens your state of anxiety. You see situations as being worse than they really are. For example, you’re not going to contract COVID-19 the moment you step outside. These are the types are thoughts that will keep you locked in perpetual anxiety. Identify them and label them as such each time they occur. By acknowledging your thoughts in this way, you take away any power they have over you.
- Remind Yourself That Change is Inevitable
When you’re locked in a state of anxiety, it can seem as though your circumstances are here to stay forever. That’s the nature of the condition. It becomes nearly impossible to rationalise events. Everything is tainted with a slant of negativity. But nothing is absolute. Things do change, and it offers the chance for new beginnings. The current pandemic will eventually run its course. And although the situation of an enforced worldwide quarantine is unprecedented, we have seen far worse pandemics occur in the recent past such as the Spanish flu in the 1920s. The medical institutions and governments at the head of the crisis want as a swift of a return to normality as possible.
- Identify What You Can Do to Change Your Situation
The trap of anxiety is that we tend to worry about things that are out of our control. However, with the outbreak of Coronavirus, anxiety now accompanies many of the activities we used to take for granted. Going out in public is now a potential health risk, which means shopping is now more stressful than before – how do you best protect yourself? There are many of these small anxieties that combine to have a considerable impact on your mental health. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to create a list of your most pressing concerns and then research the answers to your queries. Anxiety is the child of uncertainty. And by arming yourself with facts, you go a long in alleviating some of your worries.