The coronavirus pandemic is forcing many changes quickly to jobs, school, home life and how we interact with others. These rapidly occurring changes may cause anxiety or increase anxiety in many people.
Franciscan Health psychologist Dr. Deann Harvey answers questions about anxiety during this time of shut downs and fears of coronavirus transmission concerns and offers tips on how people can cope and adapt.
Q: Is It OK To Have Anxiety During The Coronavirus Pandemic?
A: We focus so much on the physical nature of any kind of virus and how it's going to affect us physically, but we forget that there's a psychological component that is huge and plays a large part into impairing our ability to function on a day-to-day basis.
Unfortunately, increased anxiety only exacerbates the issues at hand, and that's really a big part that we're trying to help reduce. If people can focus on the facts that are going on, we feel a little bit better in control.
Q: How Can I Help Children Are Anxious About The Coronavirus Pandemic?
A: The coronavirus pandemic is a stressful event, and it's very stressful for the parents. What parents or other adults should be teaching children or telling them when we're faced with any type of threat is reason, rationality and being open-minded.
Parents are the ones that are guiding the children to react to this event in a calmer and less anxiety-provoking way.
We all must start with ourselves first, as parents or as adults or as anybody who's involved with children, such as teachers or coaches. Children look to all these individuals to see how they're facing the stressful event. It's human nature for us to kind of go into distorted thinking.
People should teach children to engage in positive preventive measures and be open to talking to them about their fears and helping to give them a sense of control over their risk of infection to help to decrease anxiety.
Q: How Do We Overcome Fear And Other Feelings About The Coronavirus?
A: This can be very traumatic for certain people, especially the closer to home that it hits. Even though we personally may not get the coronavirus, we live kind of vicariously to those around us. What we strongly encourage is to stop, to take a step back, to take a deep breath, and to look at the statistics.
This is going to be uncomfortable and it is not going to be fun, but we can get through it. It's about patience over panic.
We need to be patient, take deep breaths and get in control of our thoughts. We have to try to look at things in a positive way over panic.
By Ariel Anderson
Social Media Specialist