5 Ways To Deal with Long-Term Anxiety (and a Prolonged Pandemic)

When the coronavirus pandemic started, we had no idea what life would look like after lockdown. But COVID-19 has turned out to be one sustained test of our physical and mental limits as we work through extended uncertainty, isolation, anxiety, and fear. For many of us, the calming practices of yoga have been beacons of light during this time, but even the most mindful among us aren’t as calm as we used to be.

According to psychiatrist Judson Brewer, MD, the director of research at Brown University’s Mindfulness Center and a faculty member at Omega Institute, the number one mental health issue that people are facing now is anxiety.

“Our brains hate uncertainty, and we’ve never been in a more uncertain time,” he explains. “Our prefrontal cortices are set up to help us review previous experiences, extrapolate information from them, and plan for the future. But we don’t have a previous experience like COVID-19, and we also don’t have enough accurate information, so that’s making our anxiety even worse.”

So what are the top things people should be aware of—and doing—as the pandemic continues? Brewer has recommended that, in order to break cycles of anxiety (and its “close cousin,” panic), we practice mindfulness. This will help us “see if our behavior is actually helping us survive, or in fact moving us in the opposite direction,” Brewer wrote in a New York Times article in March. Once we start to see how harmful anxiety, especially long-term anxiety, can be to our health and wellbeing, it becomes easier to replace habitual reactions such as panic or worry with ones that are more beneficial, including mindfulness and breath awareness, he explains.

5 Yoga Strategies for Beating Long-Term Anxiety

Scroll to Top