As the fears associated with the coronavirus swirl around us, it is easy to get swept up. Some of the most common fears are related to our health, the health of those we love, our personal finances, the economic impacts and making sure we feel adequately prepared. Are you feeling some of these fears? That is ok. Try these three suggestions and see if you feel better:
- An essential step in managing fear and anxiety is giving yourself permission to feel the fear and anxiety. Trying to make yourself not feel this way may cause more anxiety and fear. Instead, allow yourself to experience it. Verbalize it. Write it down. Get it out. Talk to someone about it. Experiencing these emotions, especially with someone else, will be therapeutic and can help you move past the emotions so you can be more logical and rational.
- Practice deep breathing exercises when you feel overwhelmed. Sit in a comfortable place. Close your eyes. Breathe in through your mouth while counting to five in your mind. Then breathe out through your mouth while counting to five. As you breathe, focus on the counting and on the sensations you feel as you breathe in the good air, and out the bad. As you do this you will bring in increased oxygen, which will help calm your body down. If thoughts enter your mind, just let them pass right through. Refocus on the counting and the breathing sensations. As you focus on counting, you will keep yourself from focusing on the anxiety-provoking thoughts you are feeling.
- Identify and focus on the things you can control. Clean the house. Play with your kids. Reorganize the closets. Engage in a hobby. Contact a friend. Find things you know you can do successfully and do them.
These three tips can help you manage the fears associated with the coronavirus. Identify which ones work best for you and do them anytime you need. The more you do them, the better you will get at managing your fears.
By: Jonathan Swinton, Utah State University Extension assistant professor and relationship expert