Anxiety during a pandemic

You may have found yourself saying, “I’ve never suffered with anxiety before but now I do…..” I just want to tell you that this is normal (can I add, I hate using the word normal but it’s banded around now, especially the ‘new normal’) it’s kind of become part of our everyday language right?

So, what can we do about our anxiety, can we just get rid of it? No.

Can we push it to the back of our mind? Unlikely.

Can we distract ourselves from it? Probably, yes but ultimately your anxiety will be somewhere waiting and ready to pounce!

Anxiety is our brains way of telling us something is wrong – the amygdala is located in our brains and it’s basically our internal alarm system, it alerts us to danger and we respond to this alarm with different ways; what we call the fight, flight or freeze response. What happens when we are suffering with extreme anxiety, is that the alarm system will alert us to danger when it doesn’t need to, so when the threat isn’t even there.

Now I know that we are living through challenging and unprecedented times, and we know that the danger is real – so it isn’t a shock that many of us have developed higher levels of anxiety. I would like to give some quick tips you can try when anxiety strikes:

Firstly, please remember anxiety or panic attacks have never killed anyone, you may feel you cant get through it but you always will.

  1. Sit with your feelings of anxiety – challenge your thought processes/rationalise them
  2. Stick with the facts – try to avoid being caught up with social media posts about statistics – there is a lot of fake news out there!
  3. Talk to people – stay connected
  4. Breathing techniques – 7 11 breathing – breathe in through the nose to the count of 7 and exhale through the mouth to the count of 11
  5. Try to avoid watching too much of the news – limit your intake, balance it out with tv/books you enjoy

There’s no way to totally eliminate anxiety (if only eh?!) but practising these tips and maintaining some form of control over the things you can, then you can learn to manage these intense feelings of anxiety better.

2020 has been a challenge but don’t give up on it just yet – you’ve got this!


Counsellor MBACP (Reg.)

Published by ruth cullinan

Qualified Counsellor MBACP (Reg.) working with adults and young people

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