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Coping Anxiety During COVID By Gunjan Sahni

It is important to acknowledge and address anxiety and mental stress issues due to long pandemic period to minimize the long-term effect

Covid 19 related mental stress is becoming a big challenge for the world to deal along with the virus as more and more people worldwide are reporting psychological distress and heightened states of anxiety and panic.

Constant worry about the illness, social isolation coupled with other issues due to pandemic people are experiencing elevated levels of stress and anxiety which may further lead to panic.

Human brain does not handle uncertainties well and does everything possible to take control of situations and process information accordingly. Covid-19 pandemic is not only an uncertain situation but also confusing because contradictory information keeps pouring in from different sources, which rather than assuring create more distrust among the people.

Isolation, loneliness, anxiety, panic and depression are rapidly turning into a collective experience during Covid 19. Mental health issue is a big ramification of Covid 19, and it is extremely important to acknowledge and heal-earliest as possible.

Online therapy and tele-counselling during self-isolation

Mental health practitioners worldwide have been conducting sessions via telephone or video conferencing platforms like Zoom. While maintaining self-isolation, this has proven to be an effective medium of therapy as therapists are able to see and hear their clients and observe the facial expressions and body language-which are largely the benefits of in-person therapy sessions.

Digital therapy is the future in the mental health area and this pandemic has shown the way that it is not only effective but can also be availed at a comparatively lower cost.

Therapy helps identify and deal with negative or destructive thought patterns and loops that trigger stress and anxiety.

Coping with stress and anxiety through mindful practice.

Most of us juggle with myriad challenges of day to day life with hardly any time to attend to our health, particularly when it comes to our body. We become unaware of what our body is demanding and feeling.

Ignoring the message of our body for a longer period of time results into deteriorating health and compromised life. Our life is largely dependent on how our body is in sync with our and mind and how we cultivate our inner resources for healing.

Mindfulness can be a powerful tool in dealing with the increase in baseline anxiety levels that we are collectively experiencing in the present scenario. The practice can provide us with the capacity to reconnect with our deepest and truest selves and deal with the present challenges in a calm manner.

It is also not a part of any religious dogma and stands alone as a powerful modality that is accessible to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Simply put, it is a process to learn to slow down, nurture calmness, work on self-acceptance, better regulate our emotions and train our body and mind to de-stress.

Researches have shown how specific interventions underpinned with the practice of mindfulness is equivalent to medication in preventing recurrent depression and anxiety.

How to beat the stress

Stress is an inevitable part of life and in situations like pandemic it has increased manifold. In such times as these it is most important to understand acknowledge it.

We live in a heightened state of anxiety for long and our body and mind have little or no opportunity to calm down. Chronic stress can have serious consequences on our physical and mental well-being.

Humans on an average have around 50,000 separate thoughts each day, many of them on the same topic, we really have to start paying attention to these thoughts.

Living through the pandemic, often the thoughts move around fears and pressures of maintaining work security, financial security, health, keeping family safe while trying to sustain relationships.

During the course of pandemic months grappling with fears and uncertainty has put us on auto pilot existence mode and a lot of internal warning signs are going unnoticed and ignored.

Modern medicine is increasingly falling short on managing ill-health and it is predicted that by 2030 depression and the anxiety spectrum disorders will overtake heart disease and possibly become the single biggest health problem that we face.

Bottom line – Humans are not built for chronic stress but as this has come to be the expected norm, we have all hopped on to the ride. Stress is manifold during pandemic which, if not treated on time can become catastrophic.

Managing post pandemic mental health fallout

Life and situations, post pandemic remains uncertain. Long-term repercussions of the stress and elevated baseline anxiety will most likely be severe.

Since the onset of Covid-19, experts have been warning about signs of mental health and have issued cautions. Stress is killing, as it suppresses the immune system. During the covid pandemic anything attacking the immune system would play a double whammy.

Even the United Nations has been stressing on managing the mental health issues during pandemic. UN Secretary General has stressed on the combined impact of stress, anxiety, grief and isolation might affect the health, “Unless we act now to address the mental-health needs associated with the pandemic, there will be enormous long-term consequences for families, communities and societies”, he cautioned.

The UN has urged the governments around the world to take mental health issues seriously and ensure widespread availability of mental health support during pandemic.

(Gunjan Sahni is a Delhi based Psychologist)

(The views expressed in the article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion, beliefs and view point of the owners of

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