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Reducing Anxiety During times of Uncertainty

Anxiety is often defined as fear of uncertainty. As a therapist, I often find myself helping my patients understand the legitimacy of these fears. Through hard work and a strong alliance with my patients, we face the fears, question its validity and as a result, reduce the anxiety. But times today are different. Our world is now full of real uncertainties; uncertainties about what Covid-19 means for us as a society, as a family and as an individual. Many of our patients with preexisting anxiety disorders are describing a sense of “legitimized anxiety”. Recently, I had a patient who told me that his OCD is helping him keep his family safe as his previously “over the top” hygiene practices are now being regarded as approaches to minimize contamination. Anxiety can be productive as it propels us to take action and make the necessary changes to stay safe. None-the-less, many of us struggle in an age of anxiety and now our fears have grown to unsurmountable levels. Covid-19 has pushed us to the next level of legitimized anxiety. How do we get through these trying times where answers are often elusive and uncomfortable?

Some answers can be found when we identify how we view control over our lives or what control means to us. The current uncertainty that Covid-19 represents is leaving us feeling helpless and without control. How long will this last? Will it impact my family or my loved ones? How will our day-to-day life change? Many may already be experiencing the changes that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused. We have children home from school or maybe some of us have lost our jobs. Uncertainty has affected our “life as usual”. Our lives are different and we just want some sense of the familiar and some sense of hope. A helpful way to address this sense of helplessness and lack of control is to consider how often we apply possibility thinking versus probability thinking. The likelihood of being affected is greater in certain areas of our world than in others and through certain actions. Consider all the variables and what this specifically means for your individual situation and then put into perspective your individual risk.

Regardless of your degree of risk and preexisting anxiety disorder, there are a number of things we can all do right now to regain a sense of control over our lives and the consequent sense of hope for the future that results when we feel empowered. As we face this unique crisis we can manage and control our runaway anxiety and overwhelming fears. Following are some suggestions.

Know your information

 

Stay aware of what you can control.

Reach out for help.

Whether you have a preexisting anxiety disorder, depression or just find yourself overwhelmed by the uncertainties of our current world, within us we have the tools to work our way through these difficult times. Eventually our world will become more predictable again. For now, lets stay well informed with accurate information, increase our sense of control by letting go of what we can’t control and focusing on the things we can and lets connect and never hesitate to reach out for help. 

Author
Ketamine Health Centers

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