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How to Manage Anxiety

UR

3 min read


We are all in this together. To help yourself and others read on

What is Anxiety?

“Anxiety is a protective or a lifesaving phenomenon—when your entire body responds to energise you to fight impending danger. But unfortunately, the brain does not know the difference between the real and imaginary danger,” says Dr C Manjula Rao, clinical psychologist at Apollo Health City Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. The reactive brain is as old as human evolution. She explains that though our living conditions have changed, the primitive reaction to threat hasn’t—the brain reacts in the same way as it did millions of years ago. “The physical symptoms of anxiety are fast heart beat/pounding heart, muscle tension which causes aches, vision problems and GI tract disturbances,” says Rao.

Feelings of extreme fear or nervousness could be due to an anxiety disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 30% adults are affected by this mental disorder at some point in time. The physical symptoms experienced during periods of anxiousness include shortness of breath, headaches, shakiness, nausea, and stomach pain.

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The link between Covid-19 and Anxiety

With the devastating second wave of the pandemic and surge in Covid-19 cases, there’s a corresponding rise in anxiety amongst people. In a study that aimed to assess the effects of the Covid-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of college students, an interview survey was conducted on 195 students of a university in Texas in the United States. It was found that of the 195 students, 138 (71%) indicated increased stress and anxiety due to the coronavirus outbreak. The multiple stressors that contributed to the anxiety, stress and depressive thoughts of students included worry and fear about the health of their loved ones and worry about themselves too. To live in Covid-19 times is to live in constant fear. “My son is two-years-old and each time he touches anything, I yell and he automatically enacts rubbing his hands together as though he is sanitizing his hands!” says Sunita Nair, a 28-year-old mother of a toddler.


Create periods of calm for yourself.


It is no secret anymore that Covid-19 is linked to higher rates of mental health issues. The Lancet published a report that found that 18% of Covid-19 patients developed mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or dementia, within 3 months of diagnosis. The risk of developing these mental health conditions was doubled compared to people who didn’t have Covid-19.

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Wellness advice from qualified experts

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How to manage anxiety
  1. Create periods of calm for yourself. Look for tools to accept the current situation and understand that it is not something you can control.
  2. Approach the stressful situation with a positive frame of mind. Consider facts and make sensible choices to cope.
  3. Practice self-care. Self-regulate and adopt a breathing method that can help calm you down.
  4. Resist the urge to doomscroll. When you spend hours in front of screens, absorbing dystopian news—your body is bound to react by increasing the production of stress hormones.
  5. Talk to someone. If you’re feeling alone and need support to help you get through these difficult time contact organisations like therapize.India
  6. Re-label your thoughts. If you are constantly thinking of negative scenarios, remind yourself that the thought is the result of worry and assess how realistic that fear or worry is.
Related story: Mental Health Resources to Deal with Covid Anxiety.