There is already a surge in people dealing with issues such as anxiety, depression, frustration, fear and panic due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
This will only increase in the coming months and most people do not have the skills or tools to deal appropriately with these problems. Also you will see an increase in cases of PTSD as the months go on and for years even after the pandemic is over.
The isolation associated with having to stay at home can cause profound anxiety and depression. Most people are used to socializing and being able to go where they want when they want. Most people use their ability to move around to socialize, go to the gym, attend events, go shopping and to go out and be entertained as a distraction. It is addicting. Having to stay at home forces one to be alone with their own thoughts and emotions which forces introspection. This can be terrifying and depressing for many people. Most people spend their entire lives avoiding introspection and deep self-awareness for fear of what they might find or what they do not know. Deep self-awareness can appear as a dark and mysterious place to those who have not taken the risk of exploring inside themselves.
These days there are many distractions that most people have access to even when they are forced to stay home. The internet provides entertainment, news and communication possibilities with others. Many people are still able to work remotely and stay very busy this way. People can also exercise at home or by taking walks close to home depending on where they live. People can learn new skills and hobbies and improve existing skills. Some people will play games with family members or with others on the internet. Some people will use food as a distraction. There are thousands of distractions available even when isolated at home and it is perfectly fine to participate in and to enjoy most of these distractions. They are an integral part of living and enjoying life.
But these are all just distractions and if the avoidance of anxiety, depression, fear and other emotions is the motivation for constantly keeping the mind and body active then the core issues and the anxiety and depression will still be there under the surface ready to overwhelm at any moment. Distractions will not cure the core issues that cause depression or anxiety. Alcohol or drugs will not cure anxiety or depression, they too are distractions.
If one wishes to live a fulfilling life and thrive even during a lock down or pandemic then it is essential that they deal with any issues, beliefs, poor self-image, emotions, history and reactions that can cause depression, anxiety, fear, ignorance, panic and other life limiting experiences. Actually, a period of forced isolation is a perfect time to deal with all of the inner issues that limit us. It is the time when we are forced to confront our beliefs, fears, issues and history without the benefit of the vast array of distractions available in our world.
So my suggestion is to use this time productively to become self-aware. Get to know yourself deeply and honestly. Confront all those fears, anxieties and self-limiting beliefs. Here is a very short list of a few tools you can use to do this now no matter where you are:
- Learn and practice meditation. Practice every day at least two times a day. You can use instructional articles or guided meditations to learn and to improve your skills.
- Learn and practice Mindfulness. You can practice Mindfulness all day every day if you like. The more you practice the more effective it will become for you. You will be amazed at how powerful this is. Even in the most ‘boring’ situations you will notice things that are fascinating and exciting. Even in the most anxious moments you will find peace. It does take practice but it is not difficult. Here is a beginning Mindfulness exercise you can begin with. I have posted many more of these here at this website.
- Learn to develop deep self-awareness. You can use meditation and Mindfulness as helpful tools for this. I have posted many articles about how to accomplish self-awareness as well. Self-awareness is the most powerful skill you can develop in your life. During this pandemic and isolation use the time to develop this skill. It will serve you well for the rest of your life and it will change your life for the better.
- I also suggest, if you are able, to work with a good psychotherapist to help, support and guide you. It can be difficult to deal with issues like anxiety and depression on your own so if you are able to enlist the help of a therapist do so. Now is the time. Contact me if you feel the need for a therapist who can support and guide you. Sessions are conducted via video conferencing so you do not need to leave your home to get therapy. Consider it an investment in your future. During this period of isolation and lock down you have the time to do the therapeutic work necessary to get beyond your limitations, beliefs, issues, history and fears. You also have the time to deal with depression and to learn how to make sure it never returns to overwhelm you ever again. Now is a perfect time to do this.
Use this time of isolation to improve your life and your future. For yourself and for all those around you. By using this time to deal with your inner world now you will be able to avoid future issues like PTSD, debilitating anxiety and panic and depression for the rest of your life.
© 2020 Jon Shore
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