I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.”– Steve Maraboli
Ive been guilty of being a control freak especially in relationships. This season of Rona has brought down my false sense of security. Im not really in control of anything except myself and maybe these words and even in the next minute do I really have control?For some of us..read me, the reality of this global pandemic has resulted in me feeling not in control and has triggered anxiety.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. Its a feeling of fear, apprehension, dread, doom about what is to come. It is more than just worry. it comes with a deep sense of dread and can also be accompanied with other emotional and mental issues such as depression.
Anxiety and Fear
Anxiety is fear of fear. It is fear of a future that may never take place. It involves a never ending treadmill of irrational thoughts. While fear is an emotional and physical reaction to a present known threat.It is needless and imaginary. It focuses on possiblities of an unknown future. It doesnt protect you from danger, it prevents you from taking action. We should be fearful of contracting coronavirus after all its a shitty disease that is extremely contagious. we should NOT be anxious of covid19, it is here now. We should be fearful of the hard economic times we are facing however we should not be anxious about the collapse of the global financial markets.
Anxiety brings on paralysis, an exaggeration of what-ifs while fear is about staying alive, feeding your family, wearing a mask, taking precaution etc.
Why do I get anxiety?
Doctors haven’t quite figured out why some people get anxious and others do not. It could be as a result of a combination of external stimuli, emotional abandonment, shame when first exposed to something, your unique personality brain chemistry, genetic and environmental factors. For me, I grew up in anxiety. My grandmother and mother was a worrier. i learned to be anxious from my mother.
How it feels to have anxiety?
Anxiety looks different on everyone and sometimes it’s difficult to tell if someone has anxiety. Here is what I feel when I have anxiety.
A sickening feeling in my stomach, fearful. having a sense of dread and doom. Painful butterflies in your stomach. Feelng weak, a sense of helpless, lack of sleep or poor sleep, restlenssness, a strong sense of disconnect, nightmares, procrastination, feeling of loss of control. My mind goes round and round replaying possibilities and scenarios. It triggered for me a flight-freeze response i.e. I would either avoid or freeze any action around any situation that I thought was giving me anxiety.
What triggered my anxiety?
Hanging out with negative energy people, stress, overstimulation, cigarettes, alcohol
Lately my anxiety has been triggered by negative news reports, social media posts, racing thoughts, stress, overworked brain and more lately the freakin’ coronavirus
What have I done to get through this?
Adulting is real so anxiety will definitely come but will also go as long as you learn to recognize the signs and process it in a healthy way. Here is what helped me:
- Learn to recognize the cycle of anxiety.
- Dont panic
- Regular exercise. The moment i feel anxious, if I can, I stand up, take a 10 minute break, go for a walk. Regular exercise releases helpful feel-good hormones
- Meditation. Helped me to calm the nerves down.
- Avoid alcohol and cigarettes, helped me to stop the obsessive round and round irrational thoughts
- Listening to soothing music. Classical, jazz, rain sounds.Youtube provides a wide array of calming music to download and listen.
- Writing out in a journal…helped me to clear my mind of the thoughts and helped me pinpoint the source of my anxiety as well as analyAlso going back to journals showed me progress.
The global pandemic has definitely triggered my anxiety. It challenged me to develop a balanced perspective of coronavirus. I couldnt ignore its existence however I couldnt panic.
How do you strive for a healthy perspective of COVID-19?
Be responsibly informed i.e. get news from reputable news channels that report responsibly.
Take control of your mental health. Sleep, eat healthy,
Avoid social media posts and videos with corona trigger words and images. My trigger images where empty supermarket shelves, riot and upheaval images. Words like “worse than the great depression” “job loss
I’ve also cut down on social media and deleted social media from my phone. I only check social media twice a day.
I do what i can in my world to take care of myself and my family. At this time this includes masks, sanitizers, social distancing, no unnecessary trips, cutting costs, doing my best at work.
Self-awareness and mindfulness has been a big help in managing my anxiety. Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of.It’s time to get help when your anxiety starts to interfere with your life. This could be in the form of counselling or seeing a psychiatrist. Sit with your anxiety. Acknowledge it, explore it, befriend it.
I see my anxiety as a fire that can be small matchstick flame, or a raging burning bush. I can either pour water or gasoline on it or recognize it’s presence, and let it burn out. Like any fire, my anxiety eventually burns out, if i just let it sit for awhile.
So what coronavirus keywords have triggered your anxiety?
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