When there’s so much uncertainty in the world, how do we cope with the fear and anxiety?
We’re living in a strange and unsettling time right now. That’s become pretty evident as the spread of COVID-19 continues to increase on a global scale.
What’s happening to us and our daily lives are things we could have never seen coming, nor have had the experience to prepare ourselves for. And because of this, many of us are feeling more anxiety than ever, we’re incredibly fearful, and we just don’t know what to do.
Here’s what you can do: take a deep breath.
In the video above, Chris talks with Wesley Anne Little, LPC, about how we can cope with the fear and anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. As a relationship and couples therapist, Wesley brings an empathetic perspective to the conversation, as well as some tips on what we can do to help ourselves and the people around us to feel better.
Humans have a hard time with uncertainty
This is probably what’s driving most of the panic and fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of information, the scattered data, and the confusion as to when our lives will return to normal all contribute to this big, overarching cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our heads 24/7.
We have a tendency to compartmentalize information. We collect the pieces of information around us to help make sense of what’s going on in the world. In this case, though, we don’t have all the answers. We don’t have the clarity we need.
And with that comes uncertainty. When we don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle, we start to kind of freak out. We feel anxious and stressed.
We want to have control
In times like these where we are more fearful of our well-being and our futures, we feel like we need to have some sort of control.
Many people, through no fault of their own, will be let go, or have already been dismissed from work. Layoffs, unemployment, food insecurity—these all contribute to feeling like we have no control over our lives.
If we can’t control what’s happening in the world, we can at least control what’s happening in our world. This is where the hoarding of resources and supplies happens. We need to know and feel that we’re safe.
What we can control is how we react to our emotions
Everyone, naturally, has anxiety to a certain degree. In times like these where triggers are more present and frequent than usual, we feel significantly more anxious.
But here’s what we can do: we can recognize what we’re feeling, and try not to react emotionally.
The hard truth is we can’t avoid what’s going on. We can’t avoid reality. We have to be comfortable enough to face it, acknowledge it, and know how we can take care of ourselves in the meantime.
So the next time you feel anxious, recognize that feeling. Sit with it for a moment. It’s not an easy thing to do, and we don’t expect you to want to do it often. But when you can and it feels right, try to unpack what you’re feeling and how you can help yourself heal through it.
Wesley offers plenty more insights and guidance on how we can all help each other during this time, so we highly encourage you watch this video. We hope it brings you some peace of mind knowing that things will get better when we lean on each other.