How the Already Anxious Avoided Global Spike in COVID Anxiety – Harvard Gazette

The COVID-19 epidemic created previously unheard-of difficulties and had a big effect on mental health around the world. Nonetheless, those who already suffered from anxiety disorders frequently showed resistance, preventing them from experiencing the surge in anxiety that many others did during the crisis. Numerous elements contribute to this resilience, such as ingrained coping strategies, ongoing therapeutic participation, and supportive communities. This is a detailed look at how people who were already nervous handled the increased stress caused by the pandemic.

Psychological Readiness and Previously Acquired Coping Strategies

Coping mechanisms are frequently developed by people with anxiety disorders via counseling and life experiences. Critical roles were performed by methods developed in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), including exposure therapy and cognitive restructuring. While exposure therapy gradually lessens fear through controlled exposure to anxiety-provoking circumstances, cognitive restructuring assists in recognizing and addressing illogical thinking. These abilities help people properly manage their anxiety, which is especially helpful during high-stress situations like pandemics (Harvard Gazette).

Taking Medication and Receiving Therapy

Prior to the pandemic, many people with anxiety disorders were actively involved in therapy processes, which gave them a strong base on which to manage elevated stress. Anxiety symptoms have been demonstrated to be reduced by therapies including CBT, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Furthermore, when taken appropriately, drugs like benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) helped keep anxiety levels stable. Maintaining regular communication with mental health providers allowed for the rapid management of any symptom worsening (Harvard Gazette).

Making Use of Online Mental Health Resources

Lockdowns and social distancing made it harder for people to receive traditional in-person therapy. But the switch to telehealth services made it possible for those with anxiety problems to receive ongoing care. For those who wanted to continue their therapeutic regimens without the added strain of in-person appointments, teletherapy offered a practical and efficient solution. The use of mental health applications that provide stress management, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and guided meditation has expanded. These apps enable users to manage their anxiety on their own (Harvard Gazette).

Social and Community Assistance

Having social support is essential for managing anxiety. During the pandemic, well-established social networks, like as friends, family, and support groups, became essential for people who were already struggling with anxiety problems. In order to lessen feelings of helplessness and isolation, these networks offered a sense of belonging, practical support, and emotional support. As a way to exchange experiences and coping mechanisms, virtual meet-ups and online support groups have become indispensable (Harvard Gazette).

Taking Up Structure and Routine

Keeping up a routine is a well-researched anxiety management technique. Many people with anxiety problems followed regimented daily schedules during the epidemic, which gave them a sense of control and regularity in the midst of chaos. This includes maintaining a regular sleep schedule, working out, eating well, and taking up hobbies. Regular activities have been shown to lower anxiety levels by decreasing uncertainty and offering a steady framework for people to function within (Harvard Gazette).

Proactive Data Administration

Overexposure to bad news can make people feel more anxious. Many people who already suffered from anxiety disorders developed the ability to control how much information they took in by avoiding news sources and only reading news articles from reliable sources. This strategy made it possible to respond to the changing circumstances in a more methodical and knowledgeable manner while also lessening the fear brought on by false information. Maintaining mental homeostasis was greatly aided by thoughtful information consumption and media breaks (Harvard Gazette).


The Function of Exercise and Relaxation Methods

Exercise has been shown to lower anxiety levels by producing endorphins and diverting attention from stressful situations. Many people resorted to safe outdoor activities like walking and running during the pandemic, as well as yoga and at-home workouts. Acute anxiety symptoms were frequently treated with relaxation methods such progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and guided visualization. In addition to enhancing physical health, these behaviors have a major positive impact on mental health (Harvard Gazette).

Advantages of Experiences with Pre-Pandemic Therapy

Many of them had already experienced anxiety treatment, so they knew how to see the early warning signals of worsening anxiety and when to act. Their proactive attitude, which they had established from their prior therapy experiences, allowed them to implement efficient methods early on, which helped them avoid experiencing significant episodes of anxiety during the epidemic. Their capacity to handle new obstacles was further strengthened by the confidence they had acquired from prior anxiety management successes (Harvard Gazette).

In summary


The COVID-19 epidemic demonstrated by people with pre-existing anxiety disorders their resistance emphasizes the need of psychological readiness, ongoing therapy, and robust support networks. They managed the increased stress of the global crisis by using coping mechanisms, using telehealth services, sticking to routines, and controlling the amount of information they took in. This experience highlights how important it is to have easily accessible mental health resources and support systems in order to increase resilience to adversity in the future.


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