How to cope with anxious thoughts about Covid-19
Did you know that every week throughout lockdown, two women die as a result of domestic abuse?
We hear about all the people dying from Covid-19, but little is said about people dying due to other causes, many of which have worsened since lockdown such as domestic abuse and suicide. It’s estimated that of the 44,000 people who have died as a direct result of Covid-19, 11,000 have died due to indirect effects of the lockdown.
These are very unusual times. Many people have lost loved ones, parents have not been allowed to visit their kids in hospital, and older people have been left alone without any physical contact for weeks. Lots of people are anxious about their work and livelihoods. Unemployment is rising to numbers never seen before, both in the UK and around the world. Life is very different from before the pandemic. It will be a long time until we can leave the house to meet our friends and have fun without the worry of coronavirus.
Are you experiencing anxious thoughts about Covid-19?
When I listen to the news, it is full of negativity. The stories are all about unemployment, domestic abuse and the death rate. It’s no wonder people are scared, worried, anxious, depressed and suicidal.
Like others, I have moments where I experience all these emotions, but then I remember how my moment to moment experience is created. It makes all the difference to understand that my experience comes not from outside circumstances, but from thoughts I have in any given moment.
When I feel anxious, it might be that I am experiencing anxious thoughts about something I have just heard on the news.
If I feel suicidal, perhaps it is because in that moment I am thinking about my future and wondering if there is any point going on with life, with everything going on in the world. These moments can feel very dark.
When I don’t recognise that these experiences are a result of thought, I might find myself needing to act on them in an attempt to “make it go away now.”
When I feel frustrated with my partner or my family, I might not see that my frustration is not because of them but due to the way I am thinking in that moment. I believe that my partner has said “the wrong thing” and I explode.
External situations are not responsible for our feelings
We are innesently conditioned to make other people and external situations responsible for the way we feel.
“My partner is driving me crazy.”
“My children are making me angry.”
“Covid-19 makes me feel really worried.”
“The whole situation is really frustrating.”
In reality, the feelings I experience are due to thoughts I have in that moment and it will be a different one in the next.
I am feeling frustrated because in that moment I have frustrated thinking.
I am feeling suicidal because in that moment I have suicidal thinking.
One day my partner might come home from work and be really lovely and kind, but the next day he might come home feeling tired and hardly notice me. This has nothing to do with the love he has for me.
You don’t need to act on your thoughts
Thoughts come and go, like the clouds in the sky. The weather changes without me doing anything. It’s exactly the same with thoughts.
When I attach to anxious thoughts, I give them meaning and feel that I must act on them. I tell myself “I don’t want to feel this way” and I get more frustrated. If I remember that they are "thoughts" and they will pass, I am reminded that I don’t need to act on them.
I am ok, No reason to change my thinking, turning it into something positive.
Trying to think positive all the time is hard work and adds a lot of extra thinking.
Thoughts move on like the clouds in the sky.