How to Stay Calm During the Coronavirus Crisis?

Life’s tough for everyone at the moment, not to mention uncertain. With no end in sight, you may be feeling anxious and the complete opposite of calm. Luckily, we’ve got Minal Mahtani here who is the Founder and CEO of OCD & Anxiety Support Hong Kong, to support our mental health. Her personal experience with anxiety and passion for psychology is the passion and force behind her work, with adults who struggle with mental health issues such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety Disorders. The charity gives people a place to get support and connect with others who have similar experiences. Here are the given scenarios from our readers:    

1. “I am worrying about catching the virus and not being able to guarantee I won't spread it to other people.”

    Minal: Catching the virus is a real concern at this time, as it has had a massive impact both locally and globally. None of us want to catch the virus and experience being so sick. However, worrying excessively about it triggers the stress response in our bodies, lowering our immunity, which doesn’t help us at this time as it makes us more susceptible to illness. In order to prevent yourself from catching the virus it is important to implement the following:  
  1. Practice good hand hygiene
  2. Wear a mask if you are unwell
  3. Avoid going out to big gatherings
  4. Practice social distancing
  If you find yourself constantly worrying about the virus and spreading it, acknowledge the worry, then remind yourself to bring yourself back to the present moment. Focus on what you can see around you, hear, taste, smell and touch. This practice will help shift your attention from the negative predictions to the here and now and stop the spiral of thoughts. Also, a really useful practice on how to stay calm during the coronavirus crisis and help worrying is to set a time in the day to ‘worry’ – this is called Worry Time. The duration of Worry Time can last anywhere from 10 mins to 30 mins and can take place anytime of the day but it needs to be the same time every day, so for example, 5.30pm – 6pm. At this time, you can go to a place that you have chosen and worry about all that it is on your mind.  Throughout the day, when you worry, try to rationalise the worry first and then acknowledge it and let it go. Tell the worry that you will meet it during Worry Time but now you need to focus on whatever it is you are doing or need to do, for example, work, cooking, playing with your children.    
2. “I am very conscious of my surroundings being not sanitised. If I touch any public items, I think my hands are very dirty and I would get infected by the virus.”

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