By Richa Saini, Intern, APC

TREADING THROUGH TOUGH TIMES
-Anxiety, uncertainty & covid 19

 

Covid-19 has been a blessing as well as a curse. A lot has happened in these past few months, and the clouds of uncertainty are still there, hovering over our minds & creating a hell lot of anxiety. The resulting anxiety of this crisis has a lot of harmful effects, even though, research has also shown that people are very resilient & show coping skills despite of turmoil & crisis going on in their lives.

All these months, we have been anxious about what is going to happen in our lives. Whether we will be going out again in a normal fashion, or will wearing masks & keeping our hand sanitizers closer to us than most people, be our new normal.

Uncertainty of the future, and unpredictability of our circumstances have left us with a feeling of helplessness & only one thing that is making us hold on to life is – Hope.

 Uncertainty fuels anxiety & fear because we do not really know what is going to happen next. We begin to think of worst-case scenarios in our mind regarding our future. We predict our circumstances in a negative manner which instill more fear & anxiety in our brains.

 

Beth Meyerowitz, a professor of psychology at the University of Southern California, has found that people who had heavy intolerance for uncertainty, engaged in avoidance coping strategies, like ones which helped them to not think about the feelings they are going through. These coping strategies stop a person to use effective coping strategies which actually benefit the person by reducing the emotional distress.

Avoidance coping strategies do not provide any solution to the problem. It is like suffering from cold and fever and avoiding medical attention.

Some people are naturally more tolerant of uncertainty than others. Where some people might have difficulty in sleeping, when they have a road trip ahead to get on to, the next day, while others simply plan around it & have no problem in sleeping peacefully. Lacie Barber, an occupational health psychologist at San Diego State University found a positive link between coping flexibilty and psychological adjustment. She has found that those people who cope best with uncertainty, have flexible coping styles. It is more important to accept the uncertainty rather than filling ourselves with feelings of dread, danger & fear of the unknown.

 Here are some of the effective coping strategies we can use to save our mind from the cloud of uncertainty & anxiety in the rise of pandemic :

 

  1. Try to accept uncertainty

A lot of times we accept uncertainty without even knowing. Try to accept the uncertain events, and trust that the future events will unfold in a positive manner. Identify the signs when you feel the uncertainty, accept it & let it go. Try to accept that we cannot control each and everything, and there is no use in worrying about what we cannot control or foresee.

 

  1. Act on the things which are under your control :

Many things are always under our control, for example, preparing our assignments, studying and learning new things, eating healthy food, checking up on our loved ones. There are so many things which get hindered when we dont take action on things which we can definitely control, such as, focusing on our self-growth, enhancing skills, being in touch with our friends and family etc. The reason we dont act on things which we can control is, because we ruminate a lot about uncertain events. Therefore, we should stop ruminating over things outside our control & start taking action on those which are in our control.

 

  1. Manage your stress and anxiety :

Eat a healthy diet, move your body & get some exercise, make time for your relaxation and get plenty of sleep. When your body is healthy, your mind stays healthy. Journaling about your daily life hassles & positive self-talk are also great ways to become aware of the life that you still have in this pandemic and also helps  relieving stress and anxiety. Be grateful that you are healthy and safe despite of the life crisis which is going in our lives.

By Richa Saini, Intern, APC