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Balancing Preparedness with Panic During Uncertain Times: COVID-19

Shmuel Fischler, LCSW-C · March 11, 2020

We rely on the media around us, from social media to newspapers, to get accurate information on potential problems facing us. Whether these problems are conflicts with other countries or viruses like COVID-19, it can be difficult to balance preparedness and panic. How can you see things clearly and avoid panic during uncertain times?

Be Balanced

First, ensure that you are taking a balanced perspective. Does one news source seem to be pressing the panic button while another seems calmer? Just like with many things, the truth is often found somewhere in the middle. In the case of COVID-19, there is plenty of panic during uncertain times because we do not yet know exactly what the virus will do, how far it will spread and how long it has been spreading. In general, you should always consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as your first source of information. They will let you know what you can do, how you can prepare and how to react if you are concerned you are sick.

Rational vs. Unreasonable Fear

You should not dismiss all of the issues and fear you are feeling entirely. After all, fear can serve a practical purpose—making us think critically about the ways that we act and optimizing our routines as a result. However, it’s important to keep perspective. The most common causes of death are often things that we don’t worry about or see in the news, like diet, exercise and smoking. We rarely fear things that we are used to. While there is currently an epidemic of fear and panic during uncertain times, it’s crucial to analyze your fear to determine if it is rational (productive) or unreasonable (unproductive). Every year, almost 650,000 people die from heart disease. 56,000 die from the flu. Taking action to prevent both from happening to you is prudent, but unnecessary panic is not.

When trying to determine if your fear is rational or irrational, work with your therapist to talk through your feelings. It is also critical to focus on things that you can control, like heeding proper hygiene guidelines, following travel warnings, obtaining backup medications and preparing for the possibility of remote work.

Prevent Panic During Uncertain Times With CBT Baltimore

If you are interested in seeking therapy in Baltimore, we’re here to help.  Contact the CBT experts at CBT Baltimore at 443-470-9815. We would love to speak with you.