Managing Health Anxiety during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Over the past few months anxiety related to COVID-19 has been spreading throughout the world. For people living with health anxiety, in particular, times like this can be particularly difficult. It's important to know that anxiety is a natural response to a perceived threat and situations such this will naturally lead to an increase in anxiety.

It is during times like this that it becomes difficult to distinguish between anxiety that is helpful (such as anxiety that alerts you to the need to get out of a burning building quickly) and anxiety that is debilitating (such as anxiety that keeps you from being productive or doing the things you want to do unnecessarily).

Recently we have seen an increase in safety behaviors among people who otherwise would not be considered anxious people. This is because, as human beings, we are influenced by the behaviors of others and can find ourselves acting in ways that are largely out of character when anxiety around us is elevated.

It is important that you know that if you are feeling an increase in anxiety it is okay. It is natural and understandable in times of uncertainty and when your safety and security feels threatened. The best thing you can do is be kind to yourself and understand that you are doing the best you can to manage the uncertainty that surrounds you.

Because we know that when the emotion center in the brain is highly aroused it can be difficult to think about the things that can help ease anxiety and return your mind and body to a calmer state, here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Take some time to reflect on things that have helped you get through tough times in the past and reach out if you find yourself in need of some extra support.