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Up to 5% of the population suffer from diagnosed health anxiety, while at least 10% have some form of clinical anxiety. However, anxiety levels for everyone can increase during high-stress situations such as this Coronavirus outbreak.
There are several reasons why health anxiety may increase;

Medical uncertainty – Currently, there are very few answers to our question about the virus, which can increase anxiety levels as we lack control over treatment and avoidance.
Unfamiliarity – Having to change routines and being in an unfamiliar situation can also cause our panic levels to rise as we are typically creatures of habit.
Leadership failures – During international events, we look to leaders to take control of the situation, when leaders and their interventions fail; we become distrusting and anxious.
Conflicting information – We look to experts for reassurance, and when there is conflicting information from medical experts, we don’t know what to do or expect.
Synergistic anxieties – Medical concerns can couple with other anxieties, such as financial worry, which tap into our personal stressors.

With all of these aspects, it is entirely understandable that you may be suffering from anxiety, stress, or simply being uncomfortable or uneasy about your routine being interrupted.
However, this anxiety, stress and worry do not help your mental health or the situation. If you are feeling concerned, then it is well worth taking measures to manage this anxiety for the good of your physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The Negative Effects Of Health Anxiety

When we suffer from stress and health anxiety, then our bodies have two natural responses.
Irrational decision-making
High levels of stress have an effect on our parasympathetic system. This can influence our usually logical approach to decision making. Typically, in times of stress, we favour reward-centred decisions. This could be turning to comfort food, drinking, overspending or other vices. These reward-focused activities may seem to help our wellbeing in the immediacy but often has a negative effect in the long term.
Stress can also make us more likely to choose high-risk, high-payoff options. This means we may choose to put our health at risk, rather than selecting the most sensible options to look after ourselves.
Reduced immune system effectiveness
Stress and anxiety causes the stress hormone corticosteroid to rise. In turn, this hormone lowers the number of lymphocytes in the immune system, which can suppress its effectiveness to combat illnesses.
During times of health concerns, it is vital to boost immune functionality as much as possible. Consequently, it really is important to manage your stress, where possible, to keep your body healthy.

How To Manage Coronavirus Health Anxiety

Reduce News Exposure
Anxiety is contagious and the more you expose yourself to other people’s concerns will increase your own stress. While it is important to stay in the loop; you do not have to be glued to the web for advice. There are lots of fake news and opinions out there that can increase your anxieties.
Instead, try to pick just one or two trusted sources and limit the time you look at them, to no more than three times a day.
It may be best to avoid social media at this time. While it’s good to stay social, it can help to limit your exposure to other people’s stress which may aggravate your own anxieties.
Sleep
Getting good quality sleep can help to improve your mood, reduce anxiety and boost your immune system too. Turn off devices at least an hour before bed and indulge in a relaxing bedtime winddown routine. From a warm bath, gentle stretching, meditation and reading a good book, preparing yourself for sleep can help to ensure you can fall asleep in good time and give your body the rest it deserves.
Breathing Exercises
Deep and relaxed breathing can help to slow down the sympathetic nervous system. This is where our flight or fight response comes from, which can heighten with anxiety. Furthermore, deep breathing can also help to engage the parasympathetic nervous system. This will allow you to experience a sense of calm, focus and positive, rational decision making.
In my free Manage Coronavirus Anxiety program, I will take you through the best breathing techniques for focus, calm and clarity.
Let Go Of Control
With this Coronavirus outbreak, there are many things we cannot control from vaccinating ourselves to travelling. It is important to let go of obsessing over the things we cannot control and focus on what we can. Personally, you can maintain good hygiene and safety practices. However, worrying about sliding stock prices or the number of cases will not help your mental health. Furthermore, your worry will not change the situation.
EFT
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping, has been shown to help the body’s stress response and promote relaxation, especially for health anxiety. One study has found that 90% of participants saw a reduction in anxiety. Many other studies have found that EFT treatment can significantly decrease stress, worry and fear.
If you want to learn more about EFT to reduce negativity and stress, check out my quick instructional video.
Alternatively, I offer a Coronavirus-specific EFT practice in my free Manage Coronavirus Anxiety program.
Meditation
Meditating for just five minutes a day can cause significant improvements to our mental health. In fact, studies have found that those who meditate enjoy a high quality of life and better coping mechanisms in times of stress and uncertainty.
Follow my meditation advice and add health anxiety specific affirmations to your practice here.
Focus On Your Needs
During periods of stress, it is vital that you are aware of your own needs and feelings so that you can look after your wellbeing. It is crucial to maintain healthy activities that you enjoy, which can help to release feel-good endorphins. Take time to relax and keep your usual routines as much as possible with sleep, exercise and healthy eating.
Remember, that as soon as you feel on edge, try and keep things in perspective.


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