Online Anxiety Management Group – April 2020

When threats are uncertain, such as the current coronavirus situation, our anxious minds can easily overestimate the actual threat and underestimate our ability to cope with it.  This leads to particularly high levels of anxiety and worry.

However, sometimes the things that we are worrying about lead to high levels of anxiety that are disproportionate to the situation itself.  Psychologists often find it useful to distinguish between anxieties and worries concerning “real problems” vs. “hypothetical problems” when helping people to differentiate between helpful and unhelpful anxieties and worries.

Real problem worries are about actual problems that are affecting you right now and need solutions right now.For example, given the very real concern about the virus at the moment, there are helpful solutions which include regular handwashing, social distancing, and physical isolation if you have symptoms.

Hypothetical worries are about things that do not currently exist, but which may happen in the future.  Hypothetical worries about the current health crisis might include thinking about worst-case scenarios (what we might call catastrophising). For example, imagining worst case scenarios such as most people dying.

If you’re experiencing lots of hypothetical worry, then it’s important to remind yourself that your mind is not focusing on a problem that you can solve right now, and then to find ways to let the worry go and focus on something else.

The Fitzrovia Psychology Clinic is currently running a number of online group and individual therapy options, including our next available Online Anxiety Management Group, which has spaces remaining. If you would like to speak to us for more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.