The confinement may have affected us more than expected and after spending several months at home the return to routine may have become difficult. It is at this point when the dreaded anxiety and the fear of recovering the normality lost for so long may appear.
Anxiety will come with contact with the outside world. Our home has become a safe space, where people feel safe, where they control cleanliness and hygiene, and although we are already seeing that contagions occur in social and family gatherings, contact in general, is what is related to the most dangerous, and of course when you do not know where the other person has been.
Lack of control is what will be associated with anxiety, and because you cannot control the circumstances, many people feel anxious when they consider going out. These feelings are an expression of fear at an internal or subconscious level.
Fear of catching the virus, fear of having a bad time, fear of dying, and if you watch the news you will panic even more. The mind’s focus on the negative consequences and the focus on the possibility of catching the virus is what makes our body react. The mind does not differentiate what is fictional and what is real.
That’s why when you watch a movie you can laugh, cry, be terrified or tense. To your brain it is real. Then, when you are anticipating what is going to happen your body starts to feel all of it before it happens.
Detecting anxiety and learning to manage it
Nerves, internal restlessness, catastrophic thoughts (what if I get infected and infect my family?), sweating hands, palpitations, breathing difficulties -which can perpetuate the fear if they believe it is a coronavirus and in that case it is not-, weight in the chest, knot in the stomach, are some of the symptoms that indicate that we may be suffering from anxiety.
To overcome the fear of the unknown and situations that we do not control, the psychologist Laia Giménez advises us to minimize the time of exposure to the news, also internet readings and avoid talking constantly about the subject because all this perpetuates the fear.
We must be cautious with security measures, of course, but beyond this we must live.
Repeating phrases as if they were mantras when the mind is going to imagine or think about the situation is another resource, because there as your brain does not differentiate reality from fiction, then you are helping it to relax. Learn to develop confidence. Fear lowers the immune system and defenses, whereas love and confidence keep them high. So it’s a good time to do some personal work on this and get only benefits.
Therapy or the process of inner growth will be necessary when the person feels discomfort and makes it difficult to live happily in their day to day life. Many people endure, resist and come to my office when they are totally overwhelmed, upset and with very serious symptoms. But it is not necessary to wait so long.
When the person realizes that he/she has been experiencing feelings of discomfort for 1-2 months, even if there is no anxiety but worry and fear of the future, for example, I suggest that it is a good time to start therapy. The sooner you start, the less time it will require because less conditioning will have been created.
It depends on people’s mental patterns that one type of process or another will be done. Therefore, everything will depend on the way of thinking and feeling that person has. In general, I would say that I would concentrate on deprogramming of limiting beliefs, mental reprogramming (to gain confidence), mindfulness techniques, relaxation and body awareness.