How do you protect your mental health from the spectre of the coronavirus?

With all the world-wide mass-hysteria and panic that has accompanied the imminent threat of the coronavirus,  I have been wondering how we all as individuals have been coping on a day to day basis!?

Of course we each have our own coping styles when it comes to dealing with stress and anxiety. However, the coronavirus threat is something so out of the normal range of stressors that we routinely have to deal with, and is causing such major disruption in so many areas of life on a global scale, that it is challenging each of our inner resources and resiliency to the maximum.

The ubiquitous news updates of the world-wide spread of the virus serves to make us as individuals feel personally vulnerable, insecure and unsafe, which fuels a feeling of anxiety, depression and hopelessness, especially in those of us who are prone to anxiety and depression. 

So what can each of us do to mitigate against the psychological effects presented by the spread of the coronavirus?

  1. Manage your anxiety by practicing CBT techniques such as monitoring your thoughts for patterns of “what if” thoughts that lead to heightened anxiety and challenge catastophizing thoughts about worst-case scenarios.
  2. Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques to focus on the present moment and to calm your mind.
  3. Manage any depressed or hopeless thoughts by challenging their validity and usefulness. Don’t allow yourself to sink into a “doom-and gloom” mind-set. Internalise the principles of Positive Psychology by working on your stress management and psychological resilience.
  4. Adopt a solutions-focused “how” approach to the problems presented by the coronavirus. We as humans are amazingly inventive and adaptable. Use this ability to the fullest and this will increase your sense of personal control and positive self-esteem.
  5. Remember that “this too shall pass”.  Adopting a pragmatic approach and conveying this to your family and friends, will not only help you personally but perhaps you can also make a positive difference to the mental health of those closest to you.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries or comments!



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