Another post about coronavirus. But please do not believe that my blog will turn into a “coronavirus blog”. The reason why I have decided to write about this topic is because I really believe that this has a huge impact on everyone’s mental health. So, in today’s post I will share a couple of techniques that can help you overcome your anxiety.
Life in Europe has changed tremendously since this outbreak began. A lot of things that we used to take for granted are no longer there. Many people have lost their loved ones and most of us are terribly afraid of losing people we love. And death is not the only thing to worry about at the moment but this whole crisis will have a huge impact on our economy, society and on many other aspects of our lives. On the top of everything, self isolation is not an easy thing to do either. Sometimes it is nice to stay at home and relax but being left alone with terrifying thoughts and access to the internet is definitely not the best thing if you’re suffering from anxiety.
So you may want to go out with your friends or to go on a trip, but it’s not recommended. Which means that you have no option to escape from yourself and your negative inner voice. The only option you have is fighting it. You are left alone with your own demons and these demons can be more terrifying than the worst horror movie that you have ever watched. But how could you fight your own demons?
Before I actually share my thoughts there’s one thing that I would like to tell you: I really do not want to downplay the severity of the situation and I really do not want to sound like a guy “with first world problems”. But telling anxious people that “someone has it worse” will not help them – on the contrary, thinking about other people who’re in a much worse situation will make you feel guilty and you will end up being even more anxious. And there are a lot of articles all around the internet that will trigger your anxiety so I really hope that at least this post will help some of you!
Negative Inner Monologue
One of the main reasons why you are anxious is because you have a negative inner monologue with yourself – even if you do not notice it. So let’s look at the different types of terrifying thoughts!
Overestimating Negative Outcomes
Please do not close the page saying that I am irresponsible saying such things! I really do not mean that we should just ignore all the dangers of this virus but what I am saying is that if you have anxiety, you’re very likely to overestimate the negative outcomes.
I can give you my own example: I am really not worried for myself but for my parents and grandparents. My parents are in their 50s and my gran is 80 years old. And if you have anxiety you are not always able to think in a rational way but your thoughts can easily get out of control because:
You constantly imagine the worst scenario
You may not know anyone who is infected and you know that most of the people who get the virus will recover. However, you manage to convince yourself that your situation will surely be the worst one. And this is one of the reasons why googling statistics (something that I love doing by the way) will not help: even if you found one that says that the situation is better than you would imagine, you would still think that you will be the unlucky one!
So how could you stop overestimating negative outcomes?
It is a very difficult thing to do. I think the first step is noticing when you start overestimating. And that’s the point where you just need to stop reading articles on the internet: because if you have an anxiety disorder you’re very likely to overestimate the risks but there are a lot of people out there who underestimate them, so most of the Google results are not “anxiety friendly” – including many posts that were actually written for people who’re suffering from anxiety disorders.
Now, can you just stop thinking about it?
Well, it is not that easy. So I do not think telling people to “stop thinking about it” is a useful advice. But writing about it helps a lot – so start writing a diary. Or watch a movie, call a friend, read a book – you may not be able to stop worrying right away but spending time on something else will help a lot!
Overestimating negative outcomes can often lead to a kind of “Catastrophic Thinking”.
So you can easily end up imagining a kind of zombie apocalypse or losing everyone and everything you love. And even if you’re not particularly worried about the disease itself, you will find other things to worry about: such as a huge economic crisis. And the more you think about it, the scarier things you will imagine.
That is why it is important to recognize catastrophic thinking and to be more conscious about it. And that is why it is important not to spend too much time reading the news.
And talking about the news: mainstream media!
I really do not want to give the impression that I think the media is exaggerating but it is important to think about the way it works. The more readers you have, the more money you earn. And let’s be honest: most of the people are not particularly interested at good news. If your article has a shocking title, more people will click on it. You will find much more articles about how many people died than about successful recoveries.
And there’s even an example I can give you: a prestigious news site (I really do not want to name them) published an article saying that summer in Europe will not make the coronavirus outbreak better – and a few hours later, the very same website posted one more article that said that Australia would have a significant increase in coronavirus cases because of cooling temperatures in the southern hemisphere.
While I cannot predict the future, I can tell you that catastrophic thinking is definitely not a good thing – and it’s difficult to stop doing it but try to look at the facts. China has managed to contain the virus and the rest of the world will do too!
All of us come from a long line of heroes! Our ancestors survived wars, terrifying diseases, natural disasters and a lot more.
And you are stronger than you think! By saying this, I do not mean that you shouldn’t take care of yourself but what I am saying is that you will be able to cope with difficult situations. And you are never alone, there will always be someone who can help you.
Are you worried to death? Let’s talk
Yes, I am posting things that could help people overcome their anxiety, but I do not want to be a hypocrite: me too I feel anxious sometimes. That’s the way I am. And I know it’s a difficult period for those who’re suffering from a mental illness. So if you feel that you need to talk to someone, please leave a comment )or send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org) – I am not a certified therapist or a doctor, so I will not be able to give you any “professional advice”, but sometimes it helps a lot to talk about our feelings.
Take care of yourself!
We should not only worry about our mental health but we should do everything to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the virus. Find more info about prevention on CDC: