For some people, simply taking the measures recommended by the health authorities is not enough to make them feel safe. Being safe and feeling safe are similar but divergent concepts. When our behavior to be safe isn't enough to make us feel safe, we try to get a sense of security by doing more. In the case of coronavirus, a person with a low tolerance to uncertainty perceives uncertainty about whether he is completely safe, and this uncertainty increases his anxiety excessively, pushing him to constantly strive to make sure that something is clean. In this effort to be sure, the person washes his hands repeatedly, for minutes, even though he does not need to; not finding washing sufficient, then disinfects his hands with alcohol; he put cologne on his hands as he comes to mind where he sits; repeatedly cleans surfaces in the house even though they are not contaminated; does not use food from outside without disinfecting bags, boxes; washes the clothes worn outside in the washing machine for a very long time with extremely hot water.
You might wonder what's wrong with a little too much rigor. While this rigor works in the short term, it becomes a problem in the long run. Excessive cleaning behaviors aimed at preventing coronavirus transmission with increased anxiety provide only instant relief in the person. Since the person can never fully eliminate the uncertainty by cleaning and feels completely safe, the coronavirus becomes out of his mind and he has to repeat his cleaning behaviors constantly. It goes into a vicious circle. It takes him a lot of time to clean up so much in his daily life.
The way to deal with coronavirus transmission and the obsession with providing hygiene will be to strengthen psychologically in the face of obsessions by developing control over your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. To achieve this, follow the following 5 methods.
To ensure hygiene, it will be enough to apply only the methods recommended by the health authorities.
If you're following the recommended measures, you're safe. If you have an urge to do more than recommended, you're trying to feel safe. Remember that your efforts to feel safe are not enough to make sure, so it increases your anxiety.
Blocking your reactions will become easier over time, even if it is difficult at first. If you have a hard time, you can gradually reduce your cleaning behaviors and reduce the duration.
Trying to get thoughts out of our heads makes them come back stronger. Recognize that, accept it. Do not try to get it out of your head, despite the anxiety and distress caused by the thought.
It's unpleasant to feel anxiety, yes. But suppressing thoughts or engaging in excessive cleaning behaviors, fearful of feeling anxiety, will only increase anxiety. Notice the anxiety, tell yourself you're worried, accept it. Going above anxiety will increase your tolerance for it, your resilience. When your tolerance increases, anxiety will decrease spontaneously. If you can't cope with your own obsessions and anxiety and they disrupt your functionality and negatively affect your life, please contact a mental health professional who provides online services.
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