When I published my last video on the impact of social distancing and isolation on mental health, I received a bunch of messages. People opened themselves up and shared with me the way they feel, behave and think about the coronavirus situation.
Reading all these messages convinced me that I had to do something. My name is Robin Wollast, I am a Doctor in Psychology, and in this video, I will give you 8 useful tips, based on psychological science, to cope with coronavirus anxiety.
1. Acknowledge your emotions Within a matter of weeks, the coronavirus outbreak escalated into a global pandemic. In this context, acknowledge that it is normal to experience a wide range of thoughts feelings and reactions including stress, anxiety, worry, fear, depression, sadness, frustration or anger.
According to psychologists, such unpleasant emotions are natural evolutionary responses to a perceived danger or threat. These feelings are therefore all understandable in the face of this difficult situation.
Allow yourself time to notice and express what you are feeling and do not try to ignore it. Confronting your emotions and looking realistically at your situation can be sometimes painful, but it is important for the coping process.
2. Stay connected with people As a stay-at-home order has been implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus, even more people worldwide are separated from relatives, friends and loved ones. However, social support is an important factor that positively affects mental health when facing stressful physical and psychosocial events.
Therefore, telephones, social media platforms and online forums are excellent tools tools to stay connected together and bolster psychological well-being. In sum, instead of social distancing, practice distant socializing.
3. Limit your media exposure The constant stream of updates about coronavirus could cause you to feel worried. Stay informed, but limit your exposure to news and stick with reliable sources. 4. Keep a healthy lifestyle Keep up your healthy routines.
Maintain a balanced diet, enjoy plenty of fruits and vegetables, drink more water, avoid smoking and drinking, stay active, exercise regularly and create a very consistent sleep practice. By taking care of yourself and engaging in health promoting behaviors, you will be reinforcing your immune system as well as your mindset, which will help you to better cope with this challenging situation.
5. Consciously choose to distract yourself The desire for distraction is a natural response that we often feel when we want to avoid something uncomfortable or negative. People cope with anxiety or stress using different strategies.
Some will be watching tv-series or playing video games, while others will eat unhealthy food such as chocolate to comfort themselves. These avoidance strategies are temporary ways to withdraw from life’s stressors and to escape reality.
However, a little escape can sometimes be healing, but it should be consciously chosen. You may choose to distract yourself occasionally, but such a choice is made freely, before even engaging in these avoidance behaviors.
6. Practice meditation, mindfulness and acceptance Isolation and quarantine can mirror the conditions necessary for a meditation retreat. Take this opportunity to familiarize yourself with meditation practices to develop skills and qualities such as serenity, calmness, gratitude and acceptance.
Many studies have demonstrated that regularly practicing meditation and mindfulness makes a big difference to how we feel psychologically and physically. As coronavirus anxiety rises among people, many popular meditation applications are making their services free.
Give it a try! 7. Cultivating compassion The crisis also reminds us that we are all in this together and you are not alone. We can emerge with a renewed sense of community by becoming more awake to our interconnectedness and common humanity.
Negative emotions like fear or anxiety are contagious, but so are positive emotions. Positive emotions can be powerful when we look up to people whose values and morals inspire us. Moral elevation is the feeling of being uplifted and inspired by others’ prosocial, selfless acts, and this experience prompts observers to also act with kindness and generosity themselves.
Showing care and exemplary behavior towards friends, family, or vulnerable people in our community, can be all the more important during times like this. It can foster a sense of hope, purpose, and meaning.
8. Seek virtual help from professionals if you need it Talking to a mental health professional can bolster your ability to face this difficult situation and provide advice for coping with isolation and connection financial hardship, and how best to support the mental health of loved ones.
Many professionals are now available both online and over the phone. If you search for therapists in your area, their websites may tell you whether they have moved their places online. Thank you for watching! Let me know in the comments what are your useful tips to cope with coronavirus anxiety, and if you find this video helpful, please consider sharing it.
You never know who might need this! Stay safe and healthy! Bye.