Fear of Covid-19 need not get the better of us during this pandemic.
We are Built for Anxiety
Our anxiety is a good thing. It’s there to protect us and alert us to danger. And we are in danger. We’re not safe. There’s a virus out there that can kill. From an evolutionary perspective, we are more geared towards survival than any of our predecessors. If you are reading this, you beat out many of our species who did not make it to this point. So if we are highly adept at survival, why do things feel so out of control? This is because our body is designed to brace itself for a threat it can locate. We can’t see coronovirus and we don’t know who among us might be spreading Covid-19. That makes any of our friends, colleagues, neighbors of family a potential threat. Hence the fear.
Various health organizations have alerted us to the increased risks of anxiety and fear that is out of control. Reportedly, child abuse and domestic violence are on the rise. In addition, white supremacist groups are allegedly taking advantage of the times to recruit. This isn’t COVID-19. This is fear and uncertainty. Children, shop-keepers and our neighbors are known. They are not the coronovirus. Here are some ways fear and self-doubt can show up:
- Lack of trust in yourself or others
- Aggressive behavior
- Lack of routine
- Lack of self-care
- Excessive eating, working, busyness or substance use
What Can You Do?
The best thing we can do is calm our nervous system through grounding and self-care so that our executive functions come back online and bring perspective and reality testing to the fore. We should be aware when we are upset, angry or afraid.
These emotions have a terrible way of presenting themselves and rationalizing all sorts of behavior when we don’t acknowledge them at the source, for what they are. It’s ok to say and acknowledge that we live with uncertainty and fear. Covid-19 is no joking matter. It’s ok to be afraid. However, there are in fact many things that are within our control. As soon as we engaged in such things, and helping our neighbors is just one of them, the more we will feel safe and move forward. If your anxiety and fear of Covid-19 is hard to manage, consider seeing a mental health professional. Uncontrollable anxiety can be a sign of PTSD .
You can find other soundbites related to well-being, self-compassion and healing here.