How to deal with fear and anxiety
The ability to deal with fear or anxiety is not a new thing, but in the face of the current situation, it requires a completely new approach. How to distinguish one from the other? How can we handle it when the fear and anxiety reach us? We can be sure one thing, managing difficult emotions at these times can become a very valuable lesson for all of us.
Differences between fear and anxiety
This is the first thing to think about. Fear is a natural, atavistic feeling. It has always accompanied people and serves our protection. It appears as a signaling device at the time of danger, causing a variety of somatic symptoms: accelerated heartbeat, muscle tone, bronchodilation, and adrenaline burst. Everything to be able to fight or run away. So what is anxiety then? Its source is in our head. It’s a feeling evoked by our imagination. It has nothing to do with the real threat. Unfortunately, just like fear, it can cause body symptoms such as sweating, palpitations and stomach problems. What is worse, it’s not indifferent to our psyche. It worsens our mood and negatively affects our activity. It’s worth being aware of these differences to be able to better deal with both – fear and anxiety.
Remedy for the anxiety
We already know that during our life we will face more often anxiety than fear. The good news is that we can learn to tame it and make it less difficult for us in everyday life. It’s extremely important right now – in a hard time of the pandemic that the whole world is facing. So what can we do for ourselves and people close to us?
Be aware of information overload
In my opinion, this is the first and most important thing. Reports about the coronavirus attack us from all sides. Since the situation is very dynamic, it’s worth being up to date. However, we need to use reliable sources of information, e.g. from the WHO website. It’s not difficult to panic, constantly tracking sensational news that feeds only on our anxiety. Remember, not everything you read is true. Distance yourself to other people’s comments or overheard opinions (often based on fake news).
Give up on the control
In life, we want to have control over everything. When we lose it, we feel insecure and unstable. However, the truth is that in the face of nature or diseases, we are completely defenseless. So, what you should do for yourself is to give up the control. Time to realize that there are very few things on which we can impact. Now we all have to deal with this situation. What we need is deep trust and faith that in the end, everything will be alright.
Turn your attention inwards
What we need most right now are balance and peace. In these hard times, we especially need to take care of our inner world. We can do this by meditating or just disconnecting ourselves from social media and news. The world has stopped and in a sense, we’ve got more time for ourselves – it’s worth using it. Let’s try to master difficult emotions by calming down. Crisis moments serve our development, and mental hygiene is now crucial for our health and sanity.
Don’t worry about what you can’t impact on and take care of what depends on you
What we all need to learn is to separate matters that depend on us from those that we do not influence. Constant worries lead to chronic stress, which does not serve our health. It’s not easy to free yourself of anxiety, but it’s worth to distance yourself from it. A variety of activities can help us: reading, watching our favorite programs, exercising, cooking. Certainly, there are many things that can be done at home. Organizing them right now can help us tame anxiety and regain a sense of action.
Don’t hide your emotions
We find ourselves in a completely unusual situation, unknown to most of us. Each of us experiences it in our own way and in a sense, faces it alone. We have the right to feel different emotions and we shouldn’t hide them from the world. We are afraid, angry, we feel helpless, bored, uncertain. It’s quite a big emotional charge. We cannot rely solely on common sense. Awareness that unpleasant emotions exist and will appear can help us. Emotions are worth sharing, only then we can see that we are not alone. Nothing gives such support as a sense of community and compassion. Talk to your loved ones about the current situation. Admit how you feel, tell them what you need most. On the other hand, be open to listen carefully to others and be close. Undoubtedly, we are all together and it depends on many factors how we will handle this challenge. I believe that the crisis will pass and everything will be alright again.