On Monday 22nd February, the Prime Minister outlined the roadmap for the easing of restrictions in stages over the coming months in the UK. Some of us may be happily looking forward to these changes without being unduly worried whilst others may be feeling quite worried or anxious.
It’s quite normal to have mixed emotions about the situation and we may find that within households, different members have different views and feelings about the roadmap ahead. There may also be different opinions across the generations, but it would be an oversimplification to assume that all elderly people are more anxious about the situation than younger people.
A key factor in people feeling worried about the easing of restrictions is the state of their personal health. Someone who is categorised as vulnerable or extremely vulnerable will understandably feel more concerned about forthcoming changes. Currently, parents and carers of children or adults who fall into these categories are also likely to have concerns or worries. Some parents may be feeling genuinely concerned about their children returning to school next week and wondering if the timing is right.
It is no understatement to say that we are living in uncertain times. Whether we like it or not, Covid-19 has taught us to live with uncertainty and to accept that everything is not under our direct control. Of course, this is not easy. As human beings we do not like uncertainty or change. We generally much prefer things to stay the same, particularly our routines and daily habits. Yet over the past year our routines have been disrupted and our lifestyles have changed considerably. This past year is often described as a “corona coaster” of emotions, in and out of lockdown, good news, then bad news, then good news again. Change can be difficult to deal with, more so for some people less so for others. How you navigate change depends upon many factors including your level of emotional resilience.
Our survival system
Our brains are “wired” for survival and this is the reason that our species is so successful. Our limbic system which I often refer to as the “primitive emotional mind” is the part of the brain responsible for this function, however this part of our brain can lead us to becoming over-cautious or hyper vigilant. In my Facebook Live recording of 24th February, I talked about this and how everyone in the supermarket was avoiding being near a man whose face mask had slipped and wasn’t covering his nose.
If you’re the kind of person who is prone to anxiety your primitive emotional mind will be on red alert looking for danger, threats, and risks. You may be wondering about all the “What Ifs.” For instance, “What if I am doing all the right things but others are not!” You may be thinking, “Even though the situation is improving, the threat remains.”
Solutions and advice
So, what can you do about your concerns, worries or anxiety at this time? As a Solution Focused Therapist, I focus on solutions and not on the problem. I am not pretending that the problem is not there. Far from it, but I am choosing to place my mental attention and to direct the attention of my clients on the positive aspects of living. Perhaps you could experiment and try the following:
Practise “The Three Positives”
Finally, the easing of lockdown restrictions is being done in stages which is good because it gives us all time to adjust. We really are “all in this together” and muddling through as best we can. You can only do your best to protect yourself and your loved ones. Learning to live with risks and danger is a part of life.
If you are finding it difficult to cope and you would like help to “rewire” your brain, reduce your anxiety and learn how to think more positively then don’t hesitate to get in touch and book a free 30-minute initial consultation, which can be done as a chat over the ‘phone or via Zoom.
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