Surge in Delta variants creates surge in anxiety levels

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delta variant(MGN)
Updated: Oct. 3, 2021 at 10:10 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - With a surge in the Delta variant, there is also a surge in the level of anxiety over COVID-19. A poll, conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that 41% of people reported being “extremely” or “very” worried about themselves or their family becoming infected with the virus. UW health says the high levels of stress and anxiety are similar to last winter during the country’s last major surge.

“We know we’re seeing kids are now back in school. Children under the age of 12, are not able to receive the vaccine. And people are just worried as life is resuming that, you know, there’s Delta variant, which is highly contagious, are worried for their own safety and the safety of their family and loved ones,” UW Health Distinguished Psychologist Dr. Shilagh Mirgain said.

Dr. Mirgain has some tips on ways to cope with the rising anxiety. She said first, identify and validate your feelings.

“Use some effective emotion skills to really manage those emotions in a constructive way you might do some therapeutic journaling, you might talk to somebody safe about what you’re experiencing, you might do something creative,” Dr. Mirgain said.

Second, be aware of future forecasting and try not to let your mind go down a rabbit hole of worry about what could go wrong in the future.

“Instead of really work on more balanced thoughts. Choosing a train of thinking that makes you feel good, bring resilience and you can ask yourself, is this are these thoughts making me feel good? Are they hurting me? Are they causing a sense of calm and peace, are they just creating some unnecessary suffering?” Dr. Mirgain said.

Third, focus on what you can control.

“But put your attention on those day-to-day things such as gratitude is in your control, good self-care, working on accomplishments at work, or strengthening those relationships or just checking things off your to do list to give you a sense of satisfaction,” Dr. Mirgain said.

Lastly, if you find yourself really struggling with heightened levels of anxiety or depression, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

“By reaching out for professional help you get somebody who’s objective, who’s they’re really wanting you to succeed. And we’ll give you some empirically supported coping strategies that we know from research can help treat anxiety can help treat depression and can help you stay resilient to really cultivate wellbeing,” Dr. Mirgain said.

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