I have been reading yet another book on anxiety in the wake of so many of us still not over our PTSD-type Covid exposure. That includes experiencing not only anxiety, but depression, short “fuses,” and difficulty in re-engaging with our social lives.
The premise of the new book is that much of anxiety is about going over and over in our minds different scenarios for the things we most fear might happen. The prefrontal cortex part of our brains specializes in problem solving. This can be a most helpful thing; however, when we are getting no new answers, there is the added problem of engaging our fight-flight-freeze mode into a cycle between abiding anxiety and short-term worry.
A helpful thing to ponder is that when we cannot seem to escape the worry loop, perhaps a little research on the situation, gathering more information, may be the next right step. Our gathering of information is only helpful when it comes from reliable sources. And that is the next step—what are the reliable resources these days?
For starters, science. Choosing information that is politically motivated or a maketing scam is more likely to happen on social media or anecdotal comments starting with “they say.” A good indicator of a reliable source is that it rests on data-driven evidence and professionals with a track record that we have come to trust.
More information is also needed for non-Covid worries. Having money worries is often helped by consulting with a banker or an accountant rather than lying awake, imagining the worst. Worries about our health can be helped by finding the courage to take the tests that will give us accurate and timely information. Relationship worries may be understood by consulting a therapist to help in finally talking through problems rather than assuming we fully understand a difficult situation.
Recently, my worries about a new warning message on my car dash could have been erased sooner with a visit to the mechanic who found only a fuse that had burned out! The fears that Covid has awakened in us need to be put in their place rather than becoming our default. We must get all the information we need to guide us to peace of mind.