THE CORONA VIRUS AND HYPER AROUSAL
I wonder is you are observing yourself with your reactions to the corona virus threat. Are you feeling anxious and at what level is it out of 10? It is natural for us to feel concerned for ourselves and others with this virus. The media are in full throttle mode reporting on the virus from a multitude of angles. It is a media frenzy.
If we read every article and watch every media advise about the virus it is to be expected that we are constantly telling our brain to get ready for a fight or flee situation. On top of this we are likely to be catastrophizing many possible outcomes.
What we have now is hyper arousal where there are increased amounts of adrenaline being pumped into our blood streams and we are now also hypervigilant. We are also causing our minds to become stressed and cortisol is also being released causing bodily symptoms of disturbed sleep, irritability, headaches, digestive disorders, general anxiety and panic.
So, we have the corona virus event and we have our reaction to it. These are two separate issues with the former causing psychological distress about an unknown event.
From a mental health perspective there are things you can do to keep you well. The first thing to do is observe your anxiety and take time to investigate the stories behind these feelings. How are these feelings being generated and from where? What are these feelings robbing you of? What behaviours are resulting from these feelings?
We all need to be aware of this virus threat and make plans to handle it. We need to get the information about the virus and make good decisions. But do we need to be continually scaring ourselves with the media onslaught?
One of the best ways to protect yourself is to not totally emerge yourself in all the media stories. By limiting the immersion in the media stories, you will reduce your hypervigilance. This will lead to less fear chemicals being released into your body’s circulatory system. You will have far better mental health if you observe your reactions and with self talk change the behaviour of any media obsession you might have. Try this for one day and observe the difference.
Living in the here and now will greatly reduce anxious catastrophizing, which the latter is about living in an unknown imagined future. You will deal with this virus when you get the right information.
There is the corona virus and there is the reaction to the threat. Stay mentally well by not frightening yourselves. Go for a walk, ring a friend, make sensible plans. Meditation is brilliant for anxiety so is taking deep breaths. See
Gerry North is a couple counsellor and treats anxiety, panic attacks, depressions, addictions and grief/ loss. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org