The epidemic of Coronavirus, which has spread from China to Japan to Europe and US in such a short span of time, has resulted in panic buying, hoarding of toilet rolls and other essential items, and resulted in anxiety and fear among the masses all over the world. Whilst, Coronavirus itself is not new and has been existing for many years, it’s the version COVID-19, what has resulted in classifying WHO as the pandemic.
The biggest reason is because medical researchers and scientists are still figuring out the behaviour and vaccine against this new virus. Fear is an automatic biological response of our body when it senses danger, threat or uncertainty, resulting in our sympathetic nervous systems getting activated and triggering the ‘fight or flight’ response. Adrenaline rushes in the body signalling for us to either defeat (fight) or escape (flight) the danger present before us. If the impact is bit severe, it can also result in activation of trauma which can put our body in the freeze mode i.e. inability to move.
Listed below are some of the measures that can be taken to deal with anxiety and fear, not only in this situation but in any situations:
Acknowledge all your emotions
If the emotions of anxiety and fear are coming up, it is important to acknowledge them rather than dismissing or suppressing them. When we do not face and process these emotions, they become a destructive force in our lives. Often these repressed emotions can influence our subconscious minds, causing us to react in ways that cause repetitive patterns that we continue to keep reliving over and over. Once we have acknowledged that these exist, the next steps would be to engage in activities that help them release from our body some of which are listed below.
Controlled and conscious breathing
When we are faced with these emotions, our body response generally is either to breathe faster or to hold up our breath. Instead, bring your attention and focus on breathing normal. Bring your attention to your breath and as you inhale and exhale, count to three on each side. Increase the count slowly to ten and as you exhale, exhale through your mouth. You can also hold your breath for few seconds between each inhale and exhale. Do this couple of times and after few minutes, your body should feel relaxed and your mind should feel calmer.
Meditation and exercise
You can bring your attention and focus on calming your mind through meditation. There are many apps (e.g. headspace) available which guide and teach different forms of meditation. Performing yogic postures is one of the easiest ways to bring the body to a relaxed and balanced state. Postures like big toe pose, bound angle pose, camel pose, bridge pose, cobra pose, upward plank pose etc are very helpful in dealing with anxiety and fear.
Tapping and massaging the areas
Tapping and massaging the areas where you feel anxiety and fear in your body are also great ways of releasing these emotions. For this, sit in a quiet and relaxed space and connect with your body. You can close your eyes and then identify the area within your body where you feel anxious or fearful. If you are not used to introspecting your body in this way, then best would be to focus on the area where you feel most contraction or heaviness in the body. Once such area is identified, then you can gently tap the area with your fingers or massage the area with slight firm pressure and help move that energy. As you do this, continue to breathe through your nose and exhale through your mouth. After few minutes, you should feel lighter and calmer.
Other measures to deal with anxiety or fears are:
Take preventative measures
COVID-19 is considered to be pandemic not because of its deadliness but because of the ease of it being able to affect large number of masses so quickly. It is considered to be a droplet disease i.e. it spreads through the drops in the air either when someone coughs or sneezes or when we bring our face in contact with those drops through hand-mouth contact. In order to avoid it from spreading, maintain hygiene, use sanitizer regularly, keep your immune system healthy by having balanced diet, good sleep and regular exercise. If you have a partner, then having deeply nourishing sex and orgasms are easiest way to have the lymphatic system activated which helps the body to get rid of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.
Avoid overconsumption of negative news
Whilst it is important to be aware of news happening in the world but it is important to know the limit when such news can have an impact on you at your subconscious level. Negative and unhappy news will create negative feelings within us so limit the consumption of such news and stories. When we hear the entire country being shut down and travel restrictions being put in place throughout the country, it will catch our attention but also have a negative effect on our body often creating fear, anxiety and panic. But ensure that you are considering full instead of partial information i.e. an ordinary flu is responsible for 15 million infections in US this season with 140,000 hospitalisations and 8,200 deaths while as of 16th Mar 2020, COVID-19 has only infected 176,000 people worldwide out of which 70,000 have recovered and 80,000 are in mild condition. If you need update, rely on the non-biased source of information such as U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or worldometer website.
Develop a new hobby or reconnect with old hobby
As we are being quarantined and asked to self-isolate, the social and other activities which we would normally engage in would no longer be possible. This can result in feeling frustrated, agitated or restlessness and can make a way for boredom. Recognise that these measures are only temporary and things will go back to normal just like life has began to go back to routine in China and other countries. Use this time to develop a new hobby or reconnect with some of your old hobbies – whether be it reading a book, listening to inspiration talk on the internet, playing a board game or learning to play the piano. Remember, you can still go for a walk, enjoy the sun and see the world around you so do engage in these whenever possible.
Connect with friends and families
When we get busy in life, we generally don’t have enough time to connect with friends and family. Use this time to connect with them, get to know about each other feelings and catch up on all that has been missed and avoid talking about COVID-19 as much as possible.
Speak to specialist
If you still continue to experience fear or anxiety then speak to a specialist who might be able to help you.
We are all on this together. Things will go back to normal in due course of time but let’s allow ourselves to make the best of this available time so that when things do back, we present a better version of ourselves to the world, a version which is less fearful, more calmer, more informed, more positive and more inspiring.