How to overcome fears that the corona virus triggers in you
Anxiety and panic currently seem to be normal everyday life for many people. It is above all the media that scare us by reporting almost exclusively on the corona virus. The biggest problem is that the information about the new virus is large and different from one another time and time again, so you don't really know what to believe. It is no wonder that feelings of fear arise. But today we would like to give you a few tips on how you can overcome your fears.
Overcoming fears – But how does fear of Covid 19 actually arise?
It all started in China, apparently far from us. Even when the first cases were registered in Europe and more precisely in Italy, the situation remained calm – after all, Italy is not Germany. Perhaps this underestimation of the high risk of infection was also the reason for the rapid spread in other European countries. But with increasing cases of illness and not least because of the media, which report on this topic almost continuously, the initially calm mood quickly turned into uncertainty and partly into panic.
Living with fear
When the government then recommended buying hamsters, daycare centers and schools were closed and more and more countries closed their borders, the unrest among the citizens increased – empty shelves in supermarkets and even sold out goods in online shops are the result. And even those who have remained calm so far are starting to worry about their normal weekend shopping. Especially those who are so prone to anxiety and panic attacks can experience panic fear again in such situations.
Are the fears well founded?
According to the WHO, almost 133,000 people worldwide are currently officially infected with Covid-19 and the disease is spreading rapidly. And it is precisely these numbers that scare people. However, what is mostly not mentioned in the media is the numbers of the healed. Older people, as well as those with previous illnesses, especially those with lung disease, are particularly at risk. Everyone else experiences Covid relatively uncomplicated. Still, many cannot overcome their fears.
“Unfortunately, Covid-19 is exactly the kind of thing that disproportionately increases fear in relation to the real danger,” says Dr. Gail Saltz, lecturer at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine. “The reason for this is that the virus is new and the fact that it has no historical background makes it even more uncertain and uncertain (…) In addition, it is something invisible and that makes people more afraid than visible things … If you don’t know where and how you can get infected, you get the feeling that you are not under control. ”
Overcome fear instead of panicking
Although the disease should of course not be underestimated, it is not a particularly serious pandemic. Whoever maintains the right hygiene and the security measures imposed by the government significantly reduces the risk of infection. While you can't control how much the epidemic will spread, you can at least change the way you deal with the situation and overcome your fears.
Tips against fear
For this purpose, we have put together a few things you can do if you want to overcome your fears and want to see the situation around the corona virus a little more relaxed. With a few simple measures, you can fight or at least reduce your fear so that it does not affect your entire everyday life. Because that's really completely unnecessary.
Assess your personal risk of contracting Covid-19
You can cope with your fear simply by evaluating your personal risk of infection. This means that you take into account various circumstances in your environment and in yourself and assess the extent to which you are at risk. Such circumstances that you can use to overcome your fears are, according to Alicia H. Clark, doctor of psychology and author of “Hack your Anxiety”, for example:
- Have there been confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 infection in your area?
- Have you been in contact with someone who has recently been ill?
- Do you have a weakened immune system or breathing problems that could lead to complications in the event of an infection?
Dr. Clark says this self-analysis is designed to give you a sense of control over your health and susceptibility to infection. You are not just a passive recipient of terrifying information, but an active participant in judging what you learn. Accordingly, the above points do not serve to increase fear, but to reduce it. And they learn how to deal with fears.
Defeat fear through less media influence
Of course you should inform yourself regularly about the current situation. It is important to keep up to date. Treat yourself to a break. Since the corona virus is the number one topic all over the world, you can hear and read about it around the clock. But that is completely unnecessary and also a reason for the strong panic among the population. If you want to get rid of your fears, reduce your media consumption.
Dr. Clark says, “Limit the amount of news you take in once a day if you feel you are being influenced by it, and only use reliable sources for news. The more you deal with a scary subject that you feel you don't have control over, the more frightened you will feel. ”And so you cannot overcome your fears.
Worrying is normal
… and you should make that clear. Because being stressed out by the fact that you're stressed will only add to your fear, which prevents you from overcoming your fears. Dr. Clark says, “Be clear that your fear is normal, but don't give it a chance to get out of control.”
“If someone is upset that you're scared, it's okay to challenge them,” said Ken Yeager, a PhD in philosophy from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “For example, answer, 'And what do you do to be prepared?'” If the person still tries to downplay your fears, “you can just ignore them or just make them no bigger problem than necessary,” says Yeager.
Adhere to the correct protective measures
How do fears arise? Exactly, through ignorance and uncertainty. It is therefore up to you to inform yourself about the corona virus. Of course, do not read any random websites, but reliable ones. There is now plenty of information on how to protect yourself. And if you follow these measures, you can feel safer. Of course, this also helps you to overcome your fears.
Many are currently afraid of crowds. Especially people with a mask and a face mask can be troubling, even though a mask does not offer sufficient protection. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following measures, which are also beneficial as a remedy for anxiety:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect regularly touched surfaces and objects with an ordinary household cleaning spray or cloth.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially true after using the toilet, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If water and soap are not available, a hand disinfectant with at least 60% alcohol is also suitable.
The Federal Ministry of Health also recommends:
- proper coughing and sneezing (in a disposable handkerchief or in the crook of the arm)
- Avoid traveling, avoid public transport and, if possible, work from home
- Citizens older than 60 years should be vaccinated against pneumococci
As soon as you notice that you are getting into the situation and panicking, Yeager recommends that you use a simple calming technique that will help you overcome your fears. It looks like this:
Take a look around to realize that you are in a safe environment. Remember that you are doing your best.
If that doesn't help, distract yourself. For example, watch the birds outside or analyze any object that is just in front of you. If you continue to be afraid even though you've tried our anti-anxiety tips, or if your fears are even increasing, you could also consult an expert. Therapy can work wonders.
Overcoming fears – what to do about children's fear?
The fear of crowds or even of going public in general, i.e. the fear of going out and meeting people, is therefore not uncommon in epidemics. But not only the concern for your own health can put a lot of strain on your nerves. Even those who have older people and children in the family are very concerned about them. The fear of children is completely normal and it is especially important for them that you overcome your fears.
What helps against anxiety in children?
Because especially children do not yet know how to deal with such a situation and therefore trust in your strength. You will also feel your fear and of course this will increase yours. Simple conversations are ideal remedies for fear. It is therefore important that you:
- talk to them about the virus and answer questions. Find reliable information together and explain it to them in an understandable manner appropriate to their age.
- make them understand that they are safe. Explain to them how to deal with the fear so that they can copy your measures and are no longer afraid.
- reduce the influence of the media in children too. This also applies to social media. Children can sometimes misunderstand and interpret information.
- maintain normal daily routines. It is important that everything goes as usual, because that gives the children a feeling of security. Now that the schools are closed, you can come up with interesting activities and educational games at home that distract the children and you too.
- are a role model! Eat a healthy diet, be active and sleep well, because this will strengthen your immune system! Keep calm and both you and your children will find ways out of fear and overcome fears.
Important: Not all children show their fears in the same way or each child shows their worries in different ways or not at all. For this reason, you should pay particular attention to changes in your behavior or, as a precaution, hold a conversation on the subject. In this way, you can tackle fear in good time and overcome initial anxiety.
WHO report of 13.03.2020; CDC precautions; Recommendations from the Federal Ministry of Health
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