Let’s Defeat the Phobia of the Coronavirus!!!
In order to protect ourselves from a virus surrounded by obscurity, we should pay attention to hygiene and protect our psychological immunity as we try to protect our immune system. There is no official diagnosis of “coronaphobia” in the literature yet. However, experts predict that one of the psychological consequences of the virus may cause such a diagnosis.
Phobias affect a person’s life flow negatively in many ways. Disruption of daily routines (not being able to get out of the bathroom, washing hands repeatedly, repetitive behaviors, staying away from certain environments…) leads to restriction of social relations. Uncontrollable anxiety and panic cause safety behaviors and avoidance. Since the perceived threat is excessive, the person avoids stressful situations with the belief that he cannot manage stress, but on the contrary, avoiding situations that cause anxiety causes you to succumb to that situation and strengthen your anxiety and fear.
With the effect of social media, disaster scenarios caused by information pollution spread rapidly through social networks. This erroneous information can cause us to exaggerate our precautions with severe fear and anxiety. “I shouldn’t go out, he’ll find me for sure.” “I will not be able to protect my family.” “Have I washed my hands enough?” Hundreds of questions such as “I think it hasn’t been 20 seconds, I have to wash it again”… bring anxiety afterwards. An increase in anxiety can lead to bodily reactions; Changes in sleep and appetite patterns, pain in different parts of the body, difficulty in breathing, palpitations, hot flashes, lethargy, tremors… As a result of these reactions, new question marks, increased anxiety, new control behaviors and the result is a vicious circle. Yes, there are precautions to be taken, but the excess of these cautious behaviors can cause you to limit your life uncontrollably. As a result, coronaphobia, which is one of the harms of the virus, can cause permanent problems on your psychological health.
Suggestions that you should pay attention to protect from Coronaphobia;
1. Follow accurate and reliable information.
Unrealistic information leads to disaster scenarios. “It was a definite finding; the virus lived on a marble floor for one day, not 8 hours.” baseless news such as, “I thought it was 8 hours, I touched it, I definitely got the virus.” It can increase your anxiety with thoughts such as: How is the certainty known, what is the starting point of the news, where is the research, are there any findings that prove the opposite? Accepting such information as true without questioning any of them increases your anxiety about an unrealistic situation and causes panic. You should try to stay away from news, dialogues and posts that make you panic.
2. Take adequate measures, not excessive
We should take the measures recommended by official sources. We should wash our hands regularly, disinfect, maintain social distance and use masks. Implementing additional safety behaviors you hear from anywhere will only exacerbate your perception of danger and your level of anxiety. “Eating this is very good, vinegar disinfects better, these drugs strengthen immunity.” We hear hundreds of suggestions like: Well, if these are really so useful, if this information is real, why don’t any experts talk about them or recommend them? Take only the necessary precautions, your measures should not exceed the dose.
3. Eliminate your question marks
Anxiety feeds on uncertainty. Try to learn the correct answers to the questions that you do not know the answer to from reliable sources. Lack of information and wrong information trigger anxiety. The consequences of the coronavirus scare a lot of people. “It was an extremely deadly virus.” Of course, exaggeration and unrealistic rumors worry. In fact, the ignorance of research findings proving that seasonal flu is causing more deaths can increase anxiety. The majority of people who die from coronavirus are also individuals with chronic diseases. The fact that the recovery rates are not well known or interpreted correctly is also an important factor. Cognitive distortions such as ignoring the positive, focusing on the negative, and catastrophizing may cause you to ignore the average recovery rate of 98%, and to overestimate the 2% of them.
4. Don’t ignore physical messages
When anxiety and fears increase, our minds give us messages through our body. Focus on what your body is trying to tell you when you have physical complaints such as palpitations, mood swings, difficulty breathing, tremors, numbness, hot flashes. If your body says I am not feeling well, your goal should be to ensure its well-being. You can benefit from relaxing activities such as breathing and relaxation exercises, meditation, walking, exercising or taking a shower. Increasing your physical well-being will also increase your psychological well-being.