With all that’s going on these days, you might find that hearing the words “coronavirus” or “covid-19” make you feel kind of anxious. Anxiousness feels different for different people. For you it might feel like your heart is beating faster or louder than usual. You might feel short of breath and a bit lightheaded. Sometimes it might seem like you’re hearing things through a tunnel, your vision might seem weird or you stomach might hurt. You might have some of these feelings or none of these feelings. Maybe you just feel a general sense of unease.
Sometimes it helps to remind yourself of the facts about a situation so that you don’t worry about all the “what if’s” and start believing things that make something seem more scary than it is. For example, the government is asking us to stay home and wash our hands a lot. If I didn’t understand why they were telling us this, I might feel panicked and worry that there are some really scary things happening, and it’s out of control! Actually, staying home and washing our hands is helping to protect our healthcare system from being overloaded…so when we do these things, we are taking control. That makes me feel so much better.
It’s also VERY IMPORTANT to check out what you are hearing from other people. Just because someone you know forwards you a story – that doesn’t make it true. If they haven’t checked all the facts, they might be sending you fake news without realizing it. Use your critical thinking skills!
There will be times when knowing the facts still doesn’t help you feel calmer. On the top of the menu bar you will notice a link to Smiling Mind. That is one of my go-to strategies when I am feeling anxiety. The exercises there are intended to help you focus on breathing and relaxing. So, if you find yourself in an emotional or mental “pickle”, head on over there and try a few of the lessons.