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Coronavirus: dealing with anxiety and mental health

Posted on 30 March 2020

Dr Dusana Dorjee looks at ways of turning anxiety into positive mental health habits.

Given the constant stream of negative news about the novel coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy to feel anxious and uncertain. Anxiety is also an understandable reaction, since coronavirus has made many of us change our daily routines, and threatens our sense of safety. It can be difficult to let go of these thoughts and feelings. But, we can also try to use anxiety to develop habits that can protect our mental health.

Our brain has a capacity to change and “rewire” in response to our experiences. We call this capacity “neural plasticity”. If we have recurrent, anxious thoughts, we are establishing neural connections that make thinking anxious thoughts easier for us the next time we do so.

But we can also use anxious thoughts as triggers for engaging in activities and thoughts that help manage and reduce anxiety. In this way, we can transform anxiety into one of the first building blocks of habits that can support our wellbeing when we face challenging circumstances. So the next time you notice anxious thoughts racing through your mind, or feel your shoulders tensing up from worry, try one of these activities to manage your anxiety – and change it into positive mental health habits in the future.

  1. Practice self-care
  2. Do something relaxing
  3. Notice the small things
  4. Do something to help
  5. Put things into perspective
  6. Meditate or pray

Read the full article titled, 'Coronavirus: six ways of turning anxiety into positive mental health habits' on The Conversation web pages.