Accept and Explore Your Anxiety
"It's important to acknowledge that the anxiety is present," said clinical psychologist Carla Manly, PhD. Pretending your fear isn't there is counterproductive; you'll only make yourself more anxious. Instead, "treat it with compassion," said psychotherapist Emily Souder, MA, LCSW. "Know that it is not in control of you, and that your anxious thoughts are not representative of truth. See them as separate from you, if possible."
Dr. Manly suggests rating your anxiety on a scale from zero to 10. "This step slows down emotional reactivity and adds a level of objectivity and self-awareness," she explained. Your mind has to refocus in order to assess your level of anxiety, and giving a rating helps to make the anxiety seem more manageable. "If the anxiety rises, the person is able to track how much it is rising and what might have triggered the increase," Dr. Manly added. This helps you feel in control of your anxiety, rather than the other way around.
It's also helpful to ask yourself what, specifically, you're anxious about right now. Contracting the virus? Passing it to loved ones? Losing your job? Ask yourself what you can do to manage the issue, Dr. Manly said, whether that's following the approved treatment and prevention strategies for COVID-19, discussing your job security with a manager, or reducing your time on news sites to ease worry. Then either practice acceptance of the issue or take steps to address it, such as working remotely or taking care of your health.