Coping with corona: 14 tips to feel better despite anxiety and worry

Coping with corona: 14 tips to feel better despite anxiety and worry

Recently RTL came again for an expert interview on me there: What helps against anxiety, in these difficult times? What can people do about loneliness and miserable feelings during contact freeze? Logically, I was well prepared when we went into the conversation via Skype. This turned out to be much shorter than expected, in the end the editor was satisfied with 3 concrete tips.

That’s why I have prepared all the material for you, formulated all the tips and ideas and made a two-parter with hand and foot out of it. So today, part 1: What can I do to feel better when fear and worry creep into my bones??

The threat is invisible in the air

The Covid-19 issue is everywhere, practically impossible to evade. Many people are afraid, many worry about their loved ones, their health, their future, are worried and confused, perplexed and sometimes distraught. From an invisible enemy who has great power. When there’s a fire across the street, you can see it and place the danger that comes with it. But the current threat Corona has another dimension. One feels it clearly, partly lies an eerie, almost spooky atmosphere in the air. People hurry past each other, shyly they keep their distance, every passer-by could be a danger for life and limb. Mistrust, almost suspicion, where people used to pass each other by thoughtlessly. On the other hand, I feel a greater sense of community, a caring attention that was not there before Corona.

At the same time we experience something irritatingly unfamiliar – we, the supposed masters of the planet, suddenly have neither control nor strategies. Powerlessness! Others decide whether we can meet family and friends, whether we can go out to eat and go to the movies or not. This also creates fear and insecurity. No one knows how to deal with what we are experiencing, no one knows exactly what is coming, everything is highly volatile. Findings that are considered reasonably safe today may prove to be wrong tomorrow.

And yet we are all in the same boat

Many people are struggling for their existence; some had bad jobs until two weeks ago and could barely make ends meet, then suddenly slipped into short-time allowance, now can’t cope anymore. Let’s not forget the single mothers with little money who had to count on every penny even before Corona and whose children can now no longer eat for free in daycare or school. Still others have a secure job and a home in the countryside, but already know: at the end of the crisis there will be an appointment with a divorce lawyer.

And yet, nevertheless and even more so, we are all sitting in the same boat right now. Fear and anxiety do not stop at a properly filled bank account. And it’s only just begun: What will this country look like in two weeks, how may we fare? My own fear, it comes and goes. Sometimes I feel an inner freezing before what might be ahead, and sometimes I think confidently: I’m fit, it’ll be fine.

Of course, evolution has designed the fear thing that way: It’s better to sense danger, mobilize all our strength, run away or fight – and survive, than to have been too careless for once. Stone age mode! The brain is polarized to think negatively, so that one survives. Even hoarding purchases fall into this category: The limbic system in the brain takes over, and then I’d rather hit the other person on the head to have enough supplies and to survive than to have to starve and go without myself.

The power of language and headlines

The whole thing is fueled from the outside: Don’t underestimate the power of language, this incessant armament in the (media) vocabulary, which further feeds the threateningness. Clinics are "arming", a "tidal wave" is rolling towards us, Macron says: We are at war – and just now I read the headline "In two weeks we will count the dead as in Italy". This scares me.

But fear paralyzes. Fear weakens the immune system. Fear is also contagious. And those who think negatively remain stuck in the mud. Based on Steve de Shazer’s famous sentence, I would like to invite you, me, all of us, to think in the direction of the solution: "Problem thinking creates problems, solution thinking creates solutions"!"

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