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3 powerful ways to reduce fear and anxiety about coronavirus
Mar 25

3 powerful ways to beat fear and anxiety about coronavirus

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

“Calm the fuck down!”

Several times I have seen this phrase written on colourful backgrounds of social media posts since the terror about coronavirus has clutched the world. Since people are self-isolating, social distancing and panic buying. And we all fear for our own lives and those of the ones we love.

And you know what? Me, personally, I would love to calm down.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to wake up and realise it was all over? To find the threat of coronavirus disappeared over night.

And with it our inability to breathe. Or to focus on anything but the looming catastrophe. We wish for nothing more than to stroll into a sunny, new dawn with a light heart and a peaceful mind.

Knowing we are safe. And all is well in the world.

But it’s not that time yet.

And for those of us who struggled with anxiety and panic attacks before the pandemic, the current level of fear becomes unbearable.

Everything is changing yet again every few hours. We are overwhelmed by uncertainty. And a constant feeling of dread chokes us.

We try our best to keep functioning in a world that is now devoid of routine.

But we can’t eat because our stomach is too tight with anxiety. We can’t sleep, our mind ruminating endlessly, tormented by worries and fears. And we barely hold it together during the day.

And nobody knows how long this nightmare will continue.

So, what can we do to stop our emotional health from imploding? And the anxiety from swallowing us whole?

What can we do to calm the fuck down?

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What to do when you panic about coronavirus
Mar 14

What to do when you panic about coronavirus (Part 1)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

Part 1: How to protect yourself and others from COVID-19

Novel coronavirus has been spreading across the world for weeks, followed by 24/7 news coverage.

As I start writing this post, at 4.40pm on 13th March 2020, 140,081 cases and 5,123 deaths have been recorded worldwide. By the time I’ll finish writing later today, the toll will have risen further and the whole situation will have changed.

Things are moving too rapidly to comprehend.

We are now dealing with a full-blown pandemic. Whole countries are in lockdown, travel bans in operation. Healthcare systems face breakdown, doctors and nurses burn out. The world economies suffer as stock markets plummet.
Schools and universities are closing. Supply of some essential items is low due to panic buying. Sporting events and concerts are suspended. Thousands of flights cancelled. Millions of people quarantined.

And we panic.

We are scared for our own health and the lives of the people we love. We are overwhelmed and confused. Focus on every sign of illness in ourselves and those around us. We are petrified of meeting other people. And we worry we run out of food (and toilet paper) in case of a lockdown.

Our anxiety spikes as we are bombarded with terrifying headlines and pictures of people in hazmat suits. And sometimes we can’t breathe and our hands shake. Because all the horrifying information on the unmanageable enormity of the problem becomes too much to handle.

So, in exceptional circumstances like this, how can we stop panicking? And how can we protect ourselves and others?

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The secret to reclaiming your life from anxiety
Aug 10

The secret to reclaiming your life from anxiety

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

In 2003, my life had shrunk to the size of my one-bedroom flat. I was stuck in a prison of my own making. Paralysed by fear, insecurity and anxiety.

I felt like life was running away from me. As if I was standing behind a giant window, a one-way mirror, watching other people move by. I witnessed their adventures, failures and successes. I saw them laugh, cry, love and grow.

They had happiness and fulfilment. They had fun, enjoyment, freedom. They lived.

They were oblivious of the pathetic, shivering creature observing them from the dark back room. The terrified bundle of misery that envied them, wondered how they did it. How they could be so care-free, light and joyful.

To me, every aspect of life was a threat. I was traumatised by the past, horrified by the present and petrified of an uncertain future. Fear, anxiety and panic determined my every move. And I knew it had to change. I had to reclaim my life.

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How to overcome 3 common panic triggers
Mar 13

How to overcome 3 common panic triggers

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

Going to the dentist has always been one of my worst panic triggers.

And last week, two of my fillings had to be replaced. My dentist insisted on an anaesthetic injection. Which I hate! The entire left side of my face was numb, including my nose and eye!

And then the procedure started. I closed my eyes and tried to relax. The bright surgical light above my face blinded me. Two people were pressing against me from each side. Inserting countless instruments into my mouth, manipulating my teeth.

I felt panic gripping me and fought it down.

But then out came the drill. The shrill screeching in combination with the unpleasant pressure against the affected teeth is terrifying. Saliva accumulated at the back of my throat and made me gag.

I tensed up. My finger nails were digging into my thighs. Adrenaline accelerated my heart rate and I wanted to scream, remove those utensils from my mouth, jump up and escape the awful situation so I could breathe again.

Panic had won again.

I felt like a total failure. I knew I wasn’t in any real danger. So, why was I so terrified?

What was wrong with me?

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