Anxious about coronavirus? Learn how you can cope with the fear and uncertainty and protect your mental health. We have gathered all the useful info, Join in!
How Anxiety and Fear go Hand in Hand?
Anxiety is a silent killer. Anxiety, panic, and fear stick together in the coronavirus cycle. As a psychiatrist, I have observed that it is fear, which causes unnecessary panic and anxiety attacks in various situations.
Fear closely links anxiety. It is a matter of common observation, and after being a neuroscientist, I have realized that fear sets the base for survival. We can describe fear as the oldest survival evolutionary mechanism.
Via a process known as negative reinforcement, a person can kick off all possible menacing situations.
Take the example of a car on a busy road. If accidentally any car comes in front of and starts honking, the most immediate step that will be taken by you is to step back to a safe place.
Evolution has simplified things for us.
In situations like coronavirus, you need to learn only three basic steps for survival – environmental trigger, conduct, and outcome. Considering the example of a busy road again, you will look both ways before crossing it another time.
It helps us to learn and prevent ourselves from indulging in a dangerous situation.
How Brain Adapts to such Situations (coronavirus)?
There were times a million years back when humans developed an advanced layer on the ancient section of the survival brain known as the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex helps in planning the future and in making decisions wisely.
It is responsible for inventiveness and planning. It is an important part of the bran that helps one learn from his past experiences.
In case the prefrontal cortex has not faced any such scenario, it will lay down all the possible guesses and scenarios you might encounter in that situation.
It is done by sending stimulations to the prefrontal cortex from all the related past events.
Entering Anxiety and Coronavirus
What really anxiety is? Many people fail to define it.
In simple words, anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, stress, and uneasiness on an event, which has chances of a negative or an uncertain output. It may also be due to any important upcoming event.
Anxiety basically attacks the body when our prefrontal cortex is devoid of sufficient information to predict what will happen next in that event. Okay, so the same dots connect to the coronavirus situation.
Why is Anxiety Social Contagion?
Scientists all over the world are working day and night to in-depth study about coronavirus, its characteristics, and its symptoms.
Several types of research are being done every day to know how far the coronavirus can infect people and how fatal it can prove to be.
Uncertainty stills hover in the air. Without authentic information, it is nearly impossible to think straight and live without panicking.
If we keep uncertainty aside, anxiety will also be infectious. One can transmit it through its expressions and movements, creating further chaos and panic. Social contagion is spreading panic and emotions among people in a chain.
Yes, you can simply get anxiety or start panicking by talking to an already anxious person. Anxiety and fearful words further add fuel to the fire. Some words may leave you feeling jittery and your brain in constant panic.
It can largely infect your brain cells, especially the prefrontal cortex part.
The same is the case with the coronavirus; hearing deadly news from all four sides leaves us in a constant state of worry. It can either be stress about the family getting sick or the jobs being in danger.
Wall Street – An Example of Anxiety
One amazing example that shows social contagion is Wall Street. In simple words, you will watch the spikes, crash, and increase in the stock marketplace.
A stock index is a thermometer that shows how much feverish your collective anxiety or stress is at that time.
Moreover, Wall Street also contains something that you can call the fear index. Another name for it is VIX.
These indexes overtook the financial crisis of 2008 (the same week).
Anxiety Results in Panic
When anxiety gets out of hand, it makes you start panicking.
Also Read: Benefits of Perfect Sleep for Mind and Focus
It sometimes even leads to panic attacks, also called a heart attack. Panic usually arises in sudden uncontrollable fear-related situations.
The panic wildly shuts down the thinking mode of a person. In this coronavirus epidemic, the fear and unreliability about what will happen next may also have put you in panic. In this way, the important parts of the brain responsible for thinking shut down.
It is a matter of common the fact that we do not need to stock up toilet paper for six months, but looking at the other person doing this pushes our body too in a survival mode.
How to Cope Up with Anxiety and Panic about Coronavirus?
Is it even possible to control anxiety in the epidemic of coronavirus? I have seen so many patients coming to my clinic who try their level best to suppress their emotions and tackle anxiety in the best possible way.
However, the ability to question and stamina mainly depends on the prefrontal cortex.
We cannot control it in these kinds of emergencies. I follow another pathway. I start by explaining to them the working principle of the brain and uncertainty, which negatively pressurizes the brain.
In return, this makes thinking and stress tackling the ability of the brain to be weakened. It eventually leads to anxiety in coronavirus like situations.
How Positive Approach Prevents Anxiety?
Is the mystery solved yet? No, this is just the beginning. To break the anxiety and panic coronavirus cycle, you need to know first that you are panicking and stressing about it. Secondly, you should know the output of it.
With this, you can predict if you are walking in the survival path or a direction opposite to it. Panicking due to coronavirus may lead to long-term side effects in the future.
On complete awareness about anxiety and its harmful effects, you will be able to tackle it in a better way.
Also Learn: These Top 5 Tips to Improve Mental Focus
One of the easiest ways is to replace anxiety with rewarding ones. In this current situation of coronavirus, take an example of touching your face.
- Stop thinking, “Oh my god, I have touched my face. Now I will get sick.”
- Start thinking if your hands are clean or not.
- Be positive. You just cleaned your hands minutes before.
By relaxing, you help your prefrontal cortex to think positively.
If you have washed your hands and have not been to public places, there are low-chances that you counteract the coronavirus.
In the coronavirus epidemic, the more you think positive and follow hygiene, the more chances for your brain to prevent anxiety.
What is the surety that this Method Works?
The team has lab tested this methodology for decades.
They have found that simple awareness campaigns have helped people reduce their anxiety levels by 57 percent to 63% in just sixty to ninety days.
Understating and developing the ability to relax in these kinds of situations – coronavirus – will help you boost your health and prevent being caught in uncertainty.