CONTROLLING YOUR ANXIETY AND FEAR OF UNCERTAINTY DURING PANDEMIC
By Rishi Khatri, JD/MD || Cofounder of Clear Mind Treatment a program for treatment resistant depression.
When it comes to mental health – controlling fear of uncertainty and anxiety is crucial during the pandemic, when many feel that their life is in danger, so automatically anxiety is getting out of control.
“Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you.” — Eckhart Tolle.
Evolutionary Use of Scare
When we perceive something uncertain or threatening, it causes fear in us. However, fear is a useful emotion for your survival. It keeps you out of trouble, which is why we have still have it. Our bodies change to get ready to ‘fight or flight.’ Our heart rate goes up, blood pressure rises, breathing deeper and faster, eyes dilate, we lose our appetite, increased energy and focus. Sound familiar? It’s also the same symptoms we feel when we get anxious.
Fear in a body causes an increase level of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. It cause all of the above, including things like increased blood sugar. Also, have you noticed it’s hard for you to think about abstract things when you are scared? It’s because cortisol, in addition to other hormones, causes a shift of blood from your frontal cortex, to the older more primitive parts of your brain that are responsible for basic survival and feelings. Your frontal cortex is what allows you to think and is what makes us human. No wonder we start to act irrationally when we are afraid.
Controlling fear and anxiety
We can gain control of our fear by controlling those things we can effect. Right now, you might be on edge because of your uncertainty of the pandemic. You can control of a lot of things in your life related to this virus:
- If you’re sick don’t go to work; self-quarantine for 14 days and avoid public places.
- Wash your hands often with soap for 10-20 seconds or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from any activity that involves locations where other people have been.
- Practice social distancing, at least six feet from others.
- Refrain from touching your face.
- No handshaking. Use a fist bump, slight bow, or elbow bump.
- Use your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.
- Open doors with your closed fist or hip—do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door, especially on bathroom post office and commercial doors.
- Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
- Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances and in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.
- If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to.
- Be proactive and keep your immune system strong, get ample sleep, exercise, and eat healthily.
Use Controlled Breathing and Meditation to Put Worries at Ease
You may not be able to control things, but you can always control your your own response to the emotions. You can do this through breathing techniques and meditation.
Deep breathing exercises and meditation can actually help you control your heart rate and blood pressure and help you get calm.
You Always Have Some Control
One of the main things in life to remember is that no matter what year you are living in, what new crisis is around you, you always have some element of control. Your thoughts, reactions, your breathing, your focus, preparation, practice.
Here you can find 9 TIPS TO MAINTAIN MENTAL HEALTH DURIND QUARANTINE.
If you feel like your anxiety is still getting out of control – talk to us – get your FREE CONSULTATION HERE – we will help you manage it.