It is reasonable to be anxious about the coronavirus and take necessary precautions, but don’t feed into the fear.
There are times when the collective unconscious can be so excited that you can feel the anxiety and anticipation in the air. The coronavirus has set off a panic like one that the world has not seen in decades, if ever. The reality is that no one really knows how serious or severe the impact of the coronavirus will be until more people contract it if they do.
Although the current estimates of mortality continue to go up and down minute by minute, they are just speculation. And some experts would say they are of no real value besides causing pandemonium. But for the average person who is continually inundated with the doom and gloom of the media, it is a very anxious time in America and worldwide.
Separate Fiction From Real Life
When you look at history, pandemics have been a source of great public anxiety. And they have also been exasperated in horror films and movies. As hard as it is, for your own mental health, you have to stop the cycle of anxiety. Take a look at the statistics behind what your risks are, how you can prevent infection, and what the science community is really saying about your chances of contracting the coronavirus. And if you do contract it, acknowledge how rare it really is that you will die from it.
The people who should be most concerned with the coronavirus are those who are elderly, have a predisposing condition that might make them susceptible to disease, and those who live in highly populated areas where contagion is more likely.
But people of all populations and situations are on high alert, to the point of hysteria, without taking the time to be mindful and consider the real odds. Past years have shown an increase in mortality rates for the flu, but we have been dealing with the flu for decades. And we survived just fine with some common sense and contagion precautions.
Managing Anxiety Related to the Coronavirus
It is natural to worry about your health and those of the people you love. But you have to temper anxiety with reality. To help calm your fears, consider doing the following:
It is easy to get ahead of yourself and let anxiety take over, especially when you are inundated with media messages and panic. But try not to buy into the hysteria. Of course, it is an excellent idea to protect yourself by following things like hand washing and limiting exposure, but not to the point of making yourself sick with fear and panic.
Practice mindfulness where you think about what the real risks are to you personally. Since the infection rate is about 2.2, that means that everyone infected will spread it to 2.2 people. But that is without any interference by public health assistance. The coronavirus is on the public health radar, which means that extra precautions are being taken to protect your safety. And even at an infection rate of 2.2, the chance that you will get it is quite low.
Although not much is really known about the coronavirus, keep in mind that its course, as it stands, is no more than the flu in both contagion and mortality rate. Yet, we deal with cold and flu season every year, and nearly 98% of people survive. So, try to put it into perspective; it is not Ebola or the Bubonic Plague. And we also have modern medicine to combat its symptoms and keep people safe.
Disconnect – Stop Feeding Into the Panic!
It is crucial to stay abreast of Coronavirus information, but not to the point where you are sitting in front of the television being inundated with different messages that are only driving your anxiety. Social media, the internet, and the media are full of misinformation. And unfortunately, the more shocking the story, the more attention it receives.
If you find that you are on panic-mode, try to disconnect and only tune in to resources that are credible and not panic-driven. Don’t be persuaded to buy into the hype that may or may not be real. Know your source so that you can take the information as fact instead of fiction or sensationalism. Sites like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control are the best resources to get factual information to arm yourself.
Take all Reasonable Steps to Reduce Your Risk
“Change the things that you can and accept what you can’t,” applies to the coronavirus. If you follow common sense and contagion facts, then you can minimize your risk of contagion:
- Avoid crowds and unnecessary travel for now
- Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and travel with hand sanitizer
- Refrain from touching your face, mouth, nose, and eyes
There is an incubation period where people are symptomatic. If you notice that someone is showing signs of infection, then make sure to avoid them. If someone sneezes or coughs, then viral droplets can travel several feet and become airborne. Or, the droplets can end up on vectors or surfaces that can transmit the virus from one person to the next.
But if you take precautions and do what you can to reduce your risk of infection, that is all that you can do. As hard as it is to know that not all things are under your control, they aren’t. You are around dangerous viruses every day, whether you realize it or not. And yet, you carry on with an illusion that everything is okay because it is.
What can you Do to Limit Your Anxiety Over the Coronavirus Worries?
If anxiety becomes too overwhelming, there are steps you can take to breathe easier and find your calm.
Even if you think you aren’t a yoga person, you might be pleasantly surprised. Trying new things will not only be a distraction; the practices of breathing deeply and relaxing muscles through stretching is an excellent way to reduce stress. It is more than a distraction; it is a way to find your inner peace and to bring yourself back to reality.
Meditation helps to calm both your body and your mind. It is a way to escape what is going on around you. And also to focus on the peace that lies within.
Things like deep breathing exercises and challenging your negative thoughts are an excellent way to overcome feelings of panic and anxiety. When you feel yourself becoming anxious, stop, and take the time to go through the exercises to bring your mind back to what is real versus the reality you might be creating.
Go for a Walk
If you are worried about being exposed to the virus, that might be keeping you socially isolated and alone. Nature has a way to calm your anxiety and to enhance your mood.
Head out for a walk and get your heart rate up. Not only will being surrounded by the great outdoors do wonders to lift your spirit, but exercise is also an excellent way to reduce stress and anxiety. And just being outside of your regular surroundings will help you feel less socially isolated.
The world has survived many viral outbreaks throughout history. And it is quite likely that the coronavirus will be no more harmful than the flu when all is said and done. It is reasonable to be afraid and apprehensive about your exposure, after all, we don’t know enough about the virus. But you have to temper your fear with what is real and ignore all the hype.
You, Will, be Okay!
Take precautionary steps like limiting your exposure by not going to large events, hand washing, and if you have an underlying condition that makes you more susceptible, be extra cautious. But don’t allow it to fill you with fear and anxiety, so much so that you can’t function. You will be okay. If you are having a difficult time managing your fears of the Coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone.