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Worrying about our own health, the health of our family and friends, as well as the future, are all understandable worries to have right now. These are uncertain times and we’re all facing an unknown future in many respects. Our brains, however, like predictability and a sense of control, and when we don’t have these things the survival parts of our brain can be activated. This can make us more likely to focus on things that seem more threatening, for example frequently checking the news or catastrophizing about the future. While many of our worries are warranted, it’s important to try to manage anxiety so that it doesn’t start to feel overwhelming or cause feelings of panic.
Things that can help
It can help to try to keep your mind focused on the present moment and on what you can currently control. Distract yourself from worries by doing something else, for example exercising, cooking, watching a film or talking with family and friends. Try not to over-check the news throughout the day and only seek information from reliable sources. It’s easy to get caught up in the wider media’s coverage of the pandemic, but this is not always accurate and can cause unnecessary alarm. Talk to your friends and colleagues about your worries, but also try to spend time talking about other things.
See below for additional resources on how to manage changes in thoughts, emotions and psychological wellbeing:
Doing what Matters in Times of Stress: Stress Management Guide. Spending a few minutes each day doing some of these techniques can help to reduce your stress. You can also listen to audio clips that go with the guide.
Living with Anxiety and Worry Amidst Global Uncertainty is a guide for managing worry and anxiety.
Coronavirus-Anxiety-Workbook: A guide you can work through to help manage your anxiety, including a list of 74 ideas for healthy distraction.
Free apps and online programs:
Daylight: A smart phone-based app that helps with anxiety and worry.
Feeling Good: An evidence-based audio programme which helps with anxiety.
Silvercloud: Programs that focus on supporting your wellbeing, including managing your mental health, resilience, stress and sleep. Use code Scotland2020.
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