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Apocalypse Anxiety

When you're feeling anxious, it helps to ask yourself, "Does worrying about the future help you right now?"

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

We all fear the end of the world. Climate change, terrorism, wars, and global pandemics, often leave us with a sense of dread. We all wonder how much longer our homes can survive, whether the end is near or not. Fear of the end of the world is not a new feeling. People have lived with this fear for a long time. However, no one was prepared for coronavirus. The halt it created in everyones’ lives, has been of monumental nature. 

It is important to understand that fearing the future is very natural. However, if this fear causes disruption in your day-to-day activities, it must be addressed. The first thing you must introspect is why this fear is causing such significant distress. In simpler words, why is the fear of the end of the world magnified? A possible explanation for this is the tendency of individuals to fixate on things that are simply beyond their control. Spending too much mental energy on things you have no control over will inadvertently make you feel helpless, and thus, you will experience anxiety.

During these times of uncertainty, self-care is pivotal. In times where the thought of the uncertainty of future makes one anxious, it is important to ask oneself the following questions:

Does worrying about the future help you right now?

Various stressors related to the future such as career, job, relationships etc, help us strive towards growth and personal development. However, worrying about the end of the future causes anxiety, and has no productive outcomes. Thus, it is better to try to focus on aspects of the future you have control over.

It is also important to logically devise your time. Constantly reveling in your worries will have a negative impact on you. Thus, it is important to try to distract yourself and invest you time in activities that will help you do so. It is necessary to take your mind off of stressors you have no control over.

Is there any evidence of an upcoming apocalypse?

Our Earth has survived various catastrophes, such as earthquakes, asteroid showers, wars, riots, pandemics, and it is still standing. Thus, it is important to rationally investigate factors before coming to the conclusion that the apocalypse is among us.

Is the information being presented to you valid?

Let us take the example of the coronavirus for this particular question. During the first wave, there were various sources of misinformation (mainly social media websites) that created havoc and a sense of panic amongst citizens. Thus is it imperative to ensure that one’s source of information is credible.

What can you do?

Letting go of your worry is simpler said than done. Thus, it is important to contribute, to ensure that you make a difference. If the climate change of the world is affecting you, it is important to take steps which will help control climate change. If the political climate is bothersome, you can try to actively participate in political movements and give your contribution. This may not make a significant difference, but at the very least, it may give you relief to know that you are doing your part to try and make things better. In situations that you simply have no control over, it is better to simply focus on what you can do.

Can I seek support?

It is important to understand that you are not alone in this experience. We are all somewhere anxious about the future. Thus, it is important to try to find solace in individuals who feel the same way. It is important to stay connected with the people you care about, and reach out to those who provide you comfort. 

Another facet of seeking support is educating yourself on the subject matter. For example, if you are anxious about the impact of coronavirus on the world, gain knowledge from credible resources, and take the advised precautions to prevent it from spreading further.

There are various forums available online where you can express your concerns and ensure it reaches a mass audience to either seek support/make a change. Sites such as 7-cups may help you seek social support and alleviate your anxiety. 

You can also seek support in the form of indulging in practices that will help you anxiety, such as body scan meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation, etc. Everytime you feel a wave of anxiety rushing over you, you can conduct deep breathing exercises such as the one described below;

Try following the 6-3-5-3 rule.

Inhale for six seconds through the nose (at this point you may feel your stomach expand along with your lungs)

Hold your breath for three seconds 

Release your breath through the mouth for five seconds 

Hold your breath for three seconds.

Repeat this for 5-10 times

A final option when you feel like you’re experience significant distress which is inhibiting you from conducting your routine, it is important to seek professional help!

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